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Denim Expert’s New Finishing Process Cuts Water Use Per Jean in Half

Denim Expert Limited is ramping up efforts to conserve water.

The Bangladesh-based denim manufacturer launched a new water-saving collection at Kingpins Amsterdam Wednesday, that it said uses an average of 32 liters of water per jean—nearly half of what’s traditional.

“Based on the lifecycle assessment of jeans, we know that there are three key areas in which we can help reduce the water used in the lifecycle: how cotton is farmed, how we manufacture the jeans and how consumers care for the products after they leave the store,” Mostafiz Uddin, Denim Expert Limited managing director, said.

On average, Uddin said a pair of jeans consumes 60 liters of water during production. “We at Denim Expert managed to conserve water by applying two methodologies,” he said.

The two-prong approach to water conservation begins with efficient washing machines.

“Usually the wash machines perform at a garment to liquid ratio of 1:10, whereas the machines we have in our factory work efficiently to give similar aesthetic look at water levels as low as 1:4,” Uddin explained.

Additionally, the company challenged itself to combine technique-based finishing processes to reduce the number of steps in its wet finishing. “For example, our factory can combine the desize and enzyme steps into one bath cycle, whereas traditionally we would use three bath cycles. Similarly, we have developed about 12 different techniques in which we can combine bath cycle and save water,” Uddin said.

Nearly every type of finish can be achieved with Denim Expert’s water-saving steps, though, the quantum of water savings per unit will vary by product.

Denim Expert has plans to use this process across its entire denim production. The initial stages of recycling and re-using water will have some cost factors, but Uddin said over a period of time the company will be able to recover its investments.

And it’s a worthy investment in the face of a crisis Uddin said the denim industry cannot ignore.

“Water is a critical and constantly depleting natural resource,” Uddin said. “Factors like lesser rainfall, deforestation, industrial usage and pollution of water has increased water crisis in the planet.”