The lignosulfonates are long explored waste or by-products of the pulp and paper making industry. Similar in many ways to tannins, many have studied and researched ways to use them in tanning. In the past they have been found only minimally useful as fillers, coloring (poor) agents, etc., but never as tanning agents. However, one must now stop and consider the changes in tanning information and look at the phenolic character as well as the molecular size of these compounds which may under just the right conditions lend them to a new combination tannage that really could be useful.
Since they are natural materials that would be bio-degradable. They have large molecular weights on the order of tannin compounds. They have active phenolic character, though much less than most tannins. They produce a brown color similar to tannins and have many common chemical and physical characteristic like tannins. They are available in huge quantities at very reasonable prices. On the other hand, many of the best minds in the industry have tried for decades to use them. use 2%-3% Lignosulfonate during pretanning process(before adding Chrome or vegetable tannin)is to increase the tan’s penetration time and uptake into hide and shortens the tanning time.