Difficult problems require creative solutions, and there’s no greater issue facing the apparel industry today than the quest for more sustainable production.
In order to most effectively advance progress, some companies are partnering together in order to collaborate and support eco-friendly changes. For global apparel manufacturer Hansae, one way this has played out has been through its C&T Vina vertical fabric mill, which recently implemented three significant water-saving projects.
“As a main fabric supplier factory for such brands as Gap, Old Navy, Target, Kohl’s, Pink and Walmart, the factory’s water use is directly connected to the water consumption efforts of the brands,” Ik Whan Kim, CEO of Hansae, said. “We believe these water-saving initiatives will play significant roles in helping brands to minimize the environmental impact of the apparel business.”
The mill—which manufactures a range of printed and dyed fabrics, including cotton, rayon, polyester and synthetic—implemented the trio of initiatives in order to satisfy its customers, as well as to become more aligned with the overarching trends toward environmental sustainability.
The three projects are as follows:
Dyeing machine water ratio upgrade
C&T Vina adjusted its dye machines by changing the angle of the dye machine’s structure, enabling it to improve the ratio of water required to dye fabric and reduce the total amount of water used. The company saved 84,332.6 cubic meters of water between January and October 2019, Kim said.
Rainwater harvesting system
The factory installed a rainwater harvesting system to collect rainwater that was purified and then utilized for industrial and domestic use. After a three-month construction, the system saved 28,734 cubic meters of water between April and September 2019.
Wastewater pre-treatment and recycling system
C&T Vina is currently constructing of wastewater pre-treatment and recycling system that recycles wastewater for re-use. The operation is expected to begin during Q4 of this year. The daily capacity is 1,500 cubic meters per day, and the factory expects to save about 450,000 cubic meters of water per year.
Collaboration is a key factor in driving the success of sustainable apparel production, noted Kim. “Many major brands, suppliers and retailers have collaborated together and founded organizations such as SAC (Sustainable Apparel Coalition) and ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) to create unified standards and set goals to reduce environmental footprints in our supply chain,” he said.
“We only hope that these movements can continue to raise awareness on environmental sustainability and support many factories which just started taking ‘baby steps’ to improve our environment,” he added.
As with all journeys, the one toward sustainability is filled with hiccups and bumps in the road. Most headaches, though, whether large or small, are simply part of any new project, and can be better managed through testing and proper ROI measurement. For Hansae, overcoming these hurdles resulted in an invitation to present its projects as sustainability success stories during Walmart’s Mill Sustainability Event in November—providing yet another avenue for important industry collaboration.
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