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How Cone Denim Will Save 140 Million Gallons of Water a Year

Water is a precious resource that companies throughout the denim supply chain are committed to preserving.

A participant in the UN Global Compact and CEO Water Mandate, an initiative that mobilizes business leaders on water, sanitation, and the Sustainable Development Goals, Cone Denim is one of those leaders putting big ideas into action through a series of water-saving investments and new products.

“We are focused on a sustainable future and minimizing our impact on natural resources,” said Steve Maggard, Cone Denim president. “We are driving conservation efforts throughout our manufacturing processes and establishing greater transparency and improved ways to monitor, track and report our progress.”

The next phase of mill’s water reduction plan includes the completion of the Zero Liquid Discharge wastewater treatment facility at the Cone Denim Parras (CDP) facility located in Northern Mexico.

This customized ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis system will recycle 90 percent of the water used at CDP back into the manufacturing process, leaving only a small amount of water that is lost due to evaporation needing to be replaced with fresh water.

As a result, Cone reports that no wastewater will be discharged into the environment. Once completely operational this summer, the Zero Liquid Discharge facility will save over 140 million gallons of water a year—the equivalent of 16,000 gallons per hour.

The denim mill is exploring ways to reduce its water usage in the finishing process as well.

Cone’s Ozone Flash Finish, introduced last year across its manufacturing facilities in Mexico and China, allows significant water savings in the creation of sustainable fabrics. In partnership with Jeanologia and their G2 Dynamic system, Cone is able to use 85 percent less water in the finishing of denim fabrics, compared to conventional finishing methods.

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In addition to this water savings, Ozone Flash Finish uses less energy, fewer chemical and allows fabrics to be engineered with an affinity for laser and eco garment washing techniques, offering additional water savings down the line.

By taking a multi-prong approach to reduce water throughout the denim production, Maggard said Cone is doing its “part as a valued supply partner to lead in responsible manufacturing innovation and help our customers achieve their sustainability goals.”

To bolster awareness about global water crisis on the consumer level, Cone Denim recently introduced Cone Community Denim, called Clean Water selvage. The OCS-certified organic cotton fabric boasts a teal selvage line symbolic of global water awareness.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this collection will be donated to to support their efforts to increase access to clean water worldwide.