Ok out there - I am looking for some answers to some age old problems. And I need help. I don't have an answer. Here are the problems. In todays tanning world, all our chemicals have become environmentally and personally safe - however, we still have a Salt problem. How can we deal with it? Salt fallows the ground, and we are all looking for a solution as to how to dispose of our Salt solutions. Does anyone have a handle on how we can treat these wastes waters without ruining our vegetation? There may be some answers out there that are generally not known, or new ideas that require some experimentation or refinement. I'm open to all of them. I consider this a problem we must all address in the future. Another problem that I need some input on, SAWDUST! Until now, only hardwood sawdust seems to do the best job! It soaks up moisture, it provides friction to shine the guard hairs, it doesn't mush like softwoods or cob, and it has a low weight to volume ratio. So what about the poor guys in CA or WA or MT that don't have access to it? Is there a substitute out there that we've over-looked? I need some ideas. Yes, I've posed this problem before, but I'm still open to other ideas. Lets kick these two around some. I have an open mind, and a willingness to consider new ideas.
Return to Category Menu
Yo - Bruce!
Whew!! I'll tackle the last question first here. The best substitute I've found for sawdust is fine-ground corn-cob. It has a more finely ground texture than "regular" grade corn-cob, so is closer in its' behavior to hardwood sawdust. It has served me well over the years on everything from birds (where it DOES NOT dry-out the flesh-side of the skin as sawdust can), up through deer capes, elk capes, moose capes, lifesize deer, cougar, and grizzly bear. It also blows out of the feathers or pelt lots easier than sawdust. For those tanning "in-shop" or "in-house" it REALLY eliminates the high dust emmisions created from actual sawdust.
Now on the salt issue - I don't know when or where I heard this, but I understood there was some way, some method of "neutralizing" either the salt itself or the effects of salt. I don't know, maybe it was just the "purple-haze" period of my life - JUST KIDDING!!! But seriously, I cannot tell you how I or when I heard this, or if it was just something being worked-on at some time, but I do remember something to that affect. Sorry I can't be of more help on this one.
My question regarding the salt issue is: how long does the ground remain fallowed, if "infected" by salts or a briny solution? I guess that would have a lot to do with content of salt per gallon of solution, when it is dumped, and how often. Also, how does this problem affect water-wells, and streams, etc.?
Ask a difficult question, get more questions I guess! This is a dilly my friend. John.
I can't make salt become 'ground and water friendly' but I make about 600 lbs of it dissapear every year.I phone the butcher in my town that buys deer hides and he literally races over with his shovel and as many barrels as he can. Last year he brought some type if hog crate, 4ftx4ft and lined it with a huge plastic bag. He was giggling to himself as he always does when he leaves here with salt, figuring he just pulled a fast one over me! He physically shoveled my salt trailer clean of any salt or debri and didn't have to pay for salt again this year. I'm glad to have him pull that one on me EVERY year. I guess all I'm saying is "one man's junk..." As for salt mixes, theres the obvious evaporation routine or this...dump it on the weeds in the drive way. You can't legally dump commercial waste, I know but it's cheaper(and probably safer) than the weed killers we ARE allowed to dump on the driveway! To answer your question the way I'm told I should here in the forum, I believe many towns that accept recyclables and wastes like oil or hazardous material will accept salt when contained properly. Do you remember when sawdust was real instead of the manufactured stuff they sell now ? For mammals I like it better than corn grit or fines, which I use for birds. If your birds are drying while tumbling, don't leave them in as long. It's probably just preference but it seems like the feathers clean nicer with sawdust. A guy I know locally who handles fur likes to tumble his raw fur in corn cob heavier than grit, like a crumble or nuggets. They do clean nice and need much less combing. To get rid of sawdust and corn cob fines ? Well compost them, of course ! Or see if the guy thats giggling about his salt wants to REALLY take you and keep his bloody/dirty floors dry !
how do you guys get rid of the cut-offs or trimmings after the shoulder mount is done? They won't burn, break down, and the people who take some for fly tying,etc, are set for life. Other than calling my salt guy, what do YOU all do ? Go ahead and tell us and, yes, you can kid around a bit at my expence if you like !
Okay, now that your "salt-guy" has taken all that salt, what does HE do with it. Does it go back into your areas' ecosystem anyway by someone else's hand or what? I mean, yeah it's great to get it out of sight, but is it really out of the way? Hmmmm. When we lived within city limits, what I used do with any shoulder "trimmings" was toss them in the trash, and on collection day, the garbage-man...oops...sanitation engineer (P.C. don't you know!), would cart them off with the household trash to the county landfill. Now that we have some acerage with deeply wooded areas, I guess I can just start creating little "mass-graves" for this stuff. How does it work as "fertilizer" anyhow? Maybe someone could develop a "shredder" for excess skin pieces, like the paper-shreders already out there, but with REALLY VICIOUS TEETH! Maybe someone can create a new fashion craze! Well it would really be ancient, but, you know - it's the "what's old is new again" fashion thingy! Pondering the dilemas...John.
When the"salt guy" stacks the salted capes on pallets, loads them into the tractor trailer and sends it to the buyer that forwards it to the tannery, the majority of the salt goes with it. Thats why he gets more from me every year. I suppose the tannery has to dispose of it, probably the way I said earlier. Do I just send it to the next guy so it's his problem? Hardly. Will it eventually end up in someone's ecosystem? If a land fill meets that description than the answer is yes. The same land fill that the properly handled salt I mentioned in my last reply went to, and probably the same type that the skins you threw in the trash went to. Hell, they throw disposable diapers in there, too, and we're told they won't break down. So where do we draw the line? As an example as to how the rules change from state to state, here in my area it's illegal for me to bury stuff on my acreage, it's looked at as commercial dumping, yet my neighbor could throw a deer carcas from deer season into a hole because he's not a business! A friend of mine in the business locally DOES do the mass grave burials, seriously, and on another guy's property! Maybe it's a town ordinance and not the state, but it's the way here. I'll stand by my original suggestion, just the same!
It's a bitch being on the recieving end - isn't it? However, I wasn't implying that you were pushing off a serious problem on someone else, nnooo - far from it. I had to question the statement, as I was just curious if you knew what the "salt-guy" did with all that salt - that's all. It is now obvious you do, as you have answered. Man you've got to consider yourself very lucky indeed that there is an arrangement like that available to you. Not everyone is in that same position; making salt disposal a royal pain in the a_ _! You mentioned that the guy was in your town, and I assumed (correct me if I'm wrong) that you and others around you are on wells. Again, this salt disposal is also a HUGE problem for me now, unlike it NEVER was before we moved to the "country" - or a close facsimile thereof. Tanneries have their own headaches when it comes to salt and solution disposals, what with the EPA and other agencies, I don't know how they manage this issue. I know this issue and others like it are what killed-off lots of the smaller "hair-off" tanneries in places like Gloversville. Local ordinances DO vary so widely, and within just a couple of miles, or even across a street! In our former "plat" we were not permitted to bury anything in our own backyard - "that's what our trash pickup was for", repleat with recyliing bins! On the main thoroughfare on the outskirt of the plat, one side of the street is residential and the other side is... ready... industrial! Not just "business", industrial for God's sake! Go figure!! This is not a highway, but a two-way single-lane road. Out where we are now, you can bury Godzilla on your own property, and no body would care. Oh, here's one... in "town" you can't burn leaves! Out in the "county" you can! It's the childhood smell of autumn for me - and others. It's really the same freakin' air - five minutes apart no less! There is also a city ordinance that states you cannot own a lion (or any other big cat) within the city limits. Out here I can! How do landfills get by what others cannot? Around here they are in a designated "no ground-water" area. I don't know if that's national or not. I do know it's always a major battle when they want to open up a new one around our section of Ohio. Let me wrap up by saying that salt disposal is not an easily answered or dealt-with issue, but it is real, and it is ours. Just more stuff to ponder! Good luck to all out there. John.
Hell no, I didn't take it that way, John. I just knew I should have explained things to that extent as I kinda figured the response was "iminent"! I personally DO like the occaisional shot or humor at my expence, just not the negative stuff in the past. Yeah, Gloversville has been shut down that way, I heard the lye was an issue as well. Speaking of wells, yes, most of us out here have wells and salt and sulfur are an issue. For what it's worth, those who tan thier own should be aware that water is different depending on where you live and your tan will mix or react accordingly. I just go up to my town garage and load up some "city water" when needed. Isn't that funny, you can't burn in my area either because it's pollution but you can burn wood instead of natural gas in a fireplace or stove and THAT doesn't pollute the air! Well hopefully you guys out there can find your own "salt guy" who buys deer hides...many butchers do, or takes in hides for hair off tanning and will re-use salt or a taxidermist who just is tight with his $. Later...Bill.
Thanks for the input - but I guess these 2 questions are similiar to "Which came first, the Chicken or the Egg?". I was hoping a few of you may have had some experience with the new membranes being developed, that pass Water but inhibit other materials. Also maybe there is a material available which could make the Salt precipitate from the solution and drop to the bottom where it might be recovered, or then passed through a membrane system. Anyway, if you ever run across a fresh idea - Share it with us all. As for the Sawdust question - there has to be a better answer. I appreciate John's suggestion about fine-ground corncob, but its low weight to volume ratio doesn't lend much weight for tumbling skins in the Drum. Two 50 Lb. bags of sawdust are a lot smaller than 2 50 Lb. Bags of cob. And you need the weight to accomplish that softening action. Anyway - many thanks. About the cuttings from the Deer Head mounts - I have a few ideas I'd like to share. Why not cut them out with sharp cookie cutters and make Christmas tree ornaments for our trees? Or maybe I could cut clever shapes from them and give them to all my friends as key chain fobs for Christmas! That should impress them! Seriously however, I visited a Leather Tannery nearby 3 months ago and they had a huge pile of ground up leather trimmings setting outside. When I asked them about it, they said a Company is picking them to use as a possible "filling" material. Not a bad idea, but our case, we have fur and hair too. Sorry, but I don't feel like shaving the fur or hair off and making felt with it!!!! Again - many thanks to all of you for trying. Time to lay it to rest!! For awhile! Oh - I almost forgot! I also was at a warehouse last month and I saw about 20 huge bales of dried dehaired hides waiting on the dock. When I asked what they were for - the dock worker told me they will go to Company in Peabody MA that makes Gelatin from them. Really?
We ARE getting close. I've wondered what happens when one of these forums totally fills up! Anyhow, we have a rendering plant about an hour North of us, just outside of Columbus, OH. That's where they send all the animal by-products that don't even make it into dog food! Even de-haired animal skins end up there. Yes, everthing that ends up there renders down into a gelatin. What that is used for precisely, or how or what it is incorporated into I don't think I really want to know!!! Later my friend.
It's funny, but I can picture Bruce Rittel sitting there cutting out those little figures he was talking about! Don't forget to send one to Christoforo. Bruce, when you send us our next e-mail joke, tell Richard I've been trying to call him, he's probably on-line, though.
I use about 1200 lbs of salt a year. But being in a small town with a small budget, it does get put on the street during the winter, if its a light winter it goes to the salt pile at another town for again street application. Did you ever see a street where nothing green would grow along the edges? NO and neither have I. The red meat fleshed from hides should be recycled in your garden. I once had worms that looked like small copperhead snakes. There is a company that buys leather tankage and turns it into fertilizer in Minn.
I will try to find out about the salt in the tankage. John C
My used salt comes in handy during a snow. Our county government dumps tons and tons of salt on the roads around here when it snows . I don't see any different in them doing it or meI..
This response submitted by Bill Dallam on 11/17/1998. ( email@example.com )
( firstname.lastname@example.org )
I went through this discussion with the Maine DER two years ago
while deciding to relocate our tannery. The basic outcome was
that there is no viable in ground disposal option, leaving either
evaporation ponds (dry climate only) or dilution into a suitably
sized municiple system. the end result was that I was limited to
locations served my a suitable public sewer system. Waste hide salt
goes on the roads.
This response submitted by Salty Dog on 12/18/1998. ( )
Bag It, give it to your costomers so they can put out a salt lick at their favorite deer stand.
leave smnall amounts of salt alone. salt is good.