Is the global denim industry on the brink of becoming water-free?
It’s possible with the right technologies and industry-wide effort, according to Jeanologia CEO Enrique Silla.
In honor of World Water Day on Thursday, the sustainable textile technology firm is urging the denim supply chain to examine ways Jeanologia’s technologies can combine to make all jeans 100 percent water-free by 2025.
“With Jeanologia as the expert technology partner, it is possible, within a few years, for production to use zero water and create zero waste; increasing productivity and accelerating time to market,” Silla said.
The Spanish company leads the industry with its water-saving technologies like E-flow, which replaces water with air to transfer chemicals onto garments, and G2 technology, an ozone washing process that reduces water usage by 65 percent. The technologies achieve the same aesthetics of traditional washing and finishing, but with less impact on the environment.
“We continuously work to increase awareness and involve everyone while reducing the water footprint, and without losing competitiveness or compromising on design and quality,” Silla said.
Jeanologia reports that 35 percent of the 5 billion jeans produced every year are made with its technology. In the last month alone, the company has saved the equivalent of 283 Olympic swimming pools worth of water. And the company has even bigger goals in mind.
“If we develop products in an eco-efficient way, we will produce an eco-sustainable product and bring a sustainable product to the market, achieving one of our company’s objectives: to reduce environmental impact in its entirety, not partially mitigate it,” Silla said.
According to a Levi’s Lifecycle Assessment, the cotton cultivation process requires the greatest amount of water during a pair of jeans’ life, about 68 percent.
Major players in denim are tackling the industry’s water issue across all steps of the supply chain.
In Italy, Tonello’s UP technology reduces the amount of water required during garment washing. A continuous flow of water is constantly injected into the machine, then recovered and recirculated. The combination with other Tonello technologies, like ECOfree2 for ozone washing and NoStone for stonewash effects further reduces denim’s environmental impact.
Pakistan-based mill Artistic Milliners bowed Crystal Clear last year, which calls for pre-reduced liquid indigo that requires no additional water or salt, allowing indigo recovery up to 100 percent. Additionally, there’s no need for heating in the indigo fixation process, which means less energy consumption.
Candiani introduced Re-Gen denim in January, a fabric composed of 50 percent Refibra fibers, Lenzing’s post-industrial cotton waste and wood pulp fiber blend, and 50 percent of Candiani’s recycled fibers in both the warp and the weft. The composition means all yarns in Re-Gen denim are made from regenerated material instead of virgin cotton.