The denim industry can shed its thirsty habits by embracing innovation.
That’s the message from Spanish finishing technology company Jeanologia, which says its technologies can reduce water consumption from 100 to one liter from the fabric to the finished garment.
For World Water Day on March 22, the company is highlighting the need to convert production centers into eco-efficient plants that promote sustainability and a circular economy.
“We are facing a water crisis and as an industry, we have the responsibility to produce using the least resources and eliminate waste,” said Carmen Silla, Jeanologia marketing director. “Whoever does not take sustainability into account will be out of the market. Sustainability is not a question of marketing; it is an obligation for everyone.”
Jeanologia is on a quest to achieve total dehydration and detoxification in the world of denim.
“For us, a sustainable textile production must start with the fabric, reducing its environmental impact in the manufacturing process and carrying out a precise selection to achieve more efficient processes from the fabric,” Silla said. “And this is what these technologies allow us to do, enabling the production of sustainable fabrics and achieving a perfect combination of fabric and finish.”
The key to reducing water consumption to just one liter includes H2Zero, a small water treatment system that connects to each washing machine to create a closed circuit. The closed-loop system treats water, leaving it in optimal condition for reuse in the washing and finishing processes without chemicals. H2Zero has been designed to reduce water consumption and offer the best productivity and performance with minimal electric consumption in a production center.
“H2Zero means zero discharge, no contamination, no complex treatments and no waste of money,” Silla said.
Jeanologia’s technologies work together to save water. The company’s G2 Dynamic, an ozone technology that achieves authentic results and improves color fastness and laser effects, and Anubus, a thermal shock solution that provides maximum shrinkage control and permits fabric relaxation, reduce water consumption by up to 95 percent. Together they reduce chemical consumption by 100 percent, energy consumption by 80 percent and carbon footprint by up to 40 percent compared to conventional methods.
The G2 Ozone air-washing machine achieves vintage looks and stonewash effects without using water, chemicals or pumice stones.
In addition, Jeanologia’s eFlow technology uses nano-bubbles to transport chemicals to the garment instead of using water, thus making zero discharge possible and minimal water usage needed. Using both technologies, Jeanologia eliminates 80 percent of water and 70 percent of chemicals from the process.
“For ages the industry has used water as a carrier to transport chemistry into the textile material. Half of these chemicals never touch the garment and are wasted. Then, the wasted water transports the chemicals to our rivers; it’s inefficient and prehistoric,” Silla said.
Silla pointed out the need to constantly monitor the textile industry’s eco impact with the environmental impact measuring (EIM) software. This standard sets the roadmap toward lower water consumption and more sustainable processes, promoting continuous improvement in garment finishing. The software analyzes four categories: water and energy consumption, and chemical and worker impact, classifying the garments in low, medium or high impact.
“EIM has a specific benchmark depend[ing] on the category of the product: denim, garment wash or garment dyeing. This software has become a global standard in the industry to obtain a reliable measure of the ecological footprint of jeans’ finishing to identify areas for improvement and set the roadmap toward more environmentally friendly processes,” she said.
Last year Jeanologia saved more than 19.37 million cubic meters (over 5.1 billion gallons) of water—enough to provide water for a year to a city the size of Oslo in Norway or Morocco’s Marrakech. In addition, it eliminated over 90 million kilograms (roughly 198.4 million lbs.) of Co2, or what’s captured during a year by a 107,000-acre forest.
Silla said Jeanologia’s “aspiration is to join forces with all industry players to transform blue jeans into the most sustainable garment in the history of humanity.”