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Kingpins New York Preview: Ways to Save Water

Water conservation is just one part of the denim industry’s more responsible future, and it’s tied to almost every stage of production. Denim mills will highlight their water-saving efforts at Kingpins New York at Basketball City July 20-21.

“Given how important water conservation is for us, you could say it’s woven into our every fabric,” said Baber Sultan, Artistic Milliners director of research, product and trend. The best example, however, is the company’s Recircular garments made entirely from recycled fiber from its own circular facility. The green-energy-powered facility makes fiber by recycling both consumer and industrial textile waste without using any water or chemicals.

Multiple collections also make use of the latest iteration of Artistic Milliners’ proprietary Crystal Clear (CC) technology. “In a nutshell we use it to replace older, more planet-impacting processes like salt-free, waterless dyeing and ozone finishing amongst others,” Sultan said. “We’re actually in the process of deploying the next generation, CC4.0, across various lines.”

“As a pioneer in sustainable technology, water conservation is built into every AFM process. From initial fabric concept through to our state-of-the-art laundry, we offer water-saving options,” said Susan Lawrence, Artistic Fabric Mills (AFM) VP of sales and marketing in North America.

AFM’s proprietary O2Tech wastewater dyeing and finishing process eliminates wastewater, and the mill’s indigo recycling process, Indiloop, helps recover water. “Using our post-industrial waste denim as an alternative to virgin cotton helps avoid intensive water usage,” she added. “And when piggybacked with our O2Tech dyeing and finishing technology, [it] results in higher LSF scores in our laundry’s garment washes.”

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SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation guides Cone Denim’s water conservation effort.

“We have installed a new, state-of-the-art zero liquid discharge wastewater recovery system at our mill in Parras in Northern Mexico to reduce water usage,” said Pierette Scavuzzo, Cone Denim design director. “It is a customized ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis system that incorporates biological treatment, ultrafiltration, and reverse osmosis processes to provide water to be recycled back into the denim production process.”

Recycling water in the facility will reduce Cone’s annual water consumption from ground wells by more than 100 million gallons per year, 270,000 gallons per day, and 11,000 gallons per hour. Combined with the company’s other initiatives globally, such as Ozone Flash Finish technologies, Scavuzzo said Cone has “already achieved a significant reduction in water use in our denim manufacturing.”

“That means that any denim fabric produced in our Cone Denim Parras plant is a great example of water conservation,” she added.

Some highlights from this season include S810P Keane, a relaxed stretch fabric consisting of a blend of organic, pre-consumer recycled cotton, Repreve and Lycra EcoMade, and 3729P Ailey, which uses the same blend but as a lightweight, authentic rigid blended with Tencel. Cone’s 100 percent cotton N004P has unique texture in a brilliant Natural Indigo shade and attractive drape that might appeal to brands. The indigo is grown in Tennessee by Stony Creek Colors and USDA-certified as a 100 percent bio-based dye.

US Denim Mills’ latest technique, Eco Zero, requires 96 percent less water compared to the conventional techniques. The innovation also saves up to 43 percent electricity and 33 percent steam, making it environmentally friendly.

Aleem Ahmad Khan, US Denim Mills senior manager research and business development, said his company tries to opt for the best sustainable manufacturing practices at every stage to promote responsible business. “We believe in careful usage of resources which means preserving the available assets and contributing to a greener planet,” he said.

Dyepro technology, which eliminates water and chemical waste in the indigo dyeing stage, is a game-changer for Calik Denim.

Serhat Karaduman, Calik Denim CEO, described it as the “most groundbreaking technology we have developed in water consumption in the denim industry,” adding that it can be applied to the denim fabrics Calik produces. Compatible with rigid, super stretch and power stretch fabrics, Karaduman pointed out that Dyepro can also be used with Calik’s 100 percent recycled concept RE/J, a material produced from pre- and post-consumer recycled materials.

“The majority of water consumption of denim fabric comes from cotton cultivation,” said Zennure Danışman, Orta’s marketing and washing manager.

The mill’s solution is a zero-virgin cotton fabric family called Zero-Max. Engineered with 70 percent Tencel and 30 percent pre-consumer cotton, Danışman said Zero-Max provides a “soft experience with the most authentic vintage denim look you can experience.”