Emerging Worldwide Water Shortage
It’s no longer a secret that the production of a pair of blue jeans requires a lot of water. And that while there’s a serious emerging worldwide water shortage. Water use has been growing globally at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, and an increasing number of regions are becoming water-stressed.
As of today, over 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress, and 700 million people worldwide could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030.
American denim brand Levi Strauss estimates that a pair of 501 jeans will produce the equivalent of 33.4kg of carbon dioxide equivalent across its entire lifespan, about the same as driving 69 miles in the average US car. While just over a third of those emissions come from fiber and fabric production, 40% is from consumer use, mainly from washing the jeans.
We may simply think of a worn pair of blue jeans as an old friend, but may not put a lot of thought into how those jeans were made. From growing cotton to dyeing it to laundering finished products, producing blue jeans consumes a large amount of water. Approximatively 3,781 liters of water are used during the production and use phase of one pair of jeans and 33.4 kg of CO2 is created throughout its lifetime.
The Consumer Use Part
When we talk about sustainability in the fashion industry, we mainly talk about fiber production, clothing production, recycling, and so on, but we sometimes overlook a very important part of the lifecycle of a garment, the consumer use part.
During the whole lifecycle of a garment the largest carbon footprint area occurs during the ‘use’ phase through the washing, drying, and ironing of the item.
It is estimated that you could reduce the water usage associated with caring for your jeans by up to 77% by simply going 10 wears between washes. Reducing the frequency with which you wash your garments will also extend the life of your garment. The average American family washes 300 loads of laundry per year, consuming about 60,000 liters of water. It also takes a lot of energy to heat the washing water and run the drying cycle.
Means Washing Cleanness?
We all still think that if we wash our garments we clean them, but is that so? We put our clothes in the washing machine, press a button, and have nothing to worry about. Or…do we? Well, a lot happens during that cycle:
- Microplastics: When you wash synthetic materials like polyester and nylon, they shed microplastics.
- Water waste: Even most high-efficiency washing machines need around 15 – 30 gallons of water per load. Doing the laundry three times a week will result in around 400 liters of water waste! Let’s not forget that the textile industry is responsible for consuming 4% of the available fresh water in the world whereas, as of today, over 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress, and 700 million people worldwide could be displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030. Climate change is projected to increase the number of water-stressed regions and exacerbate shortages in already water-stressed regions.
- Energy waste: It takes a lot of energy to keep the washing machine going and, mainly, to heat all that water. An average machine wastes between 350 and 500 watts of electricity per load.
- Toxic detergents: Most of these products contain chemicals that are toxic to algae and other aquatic organisms.
Thus, the environmental impacts of laundry choices are significant and worth investigating.
And mills, brands, manufacturers share a responsibility to make consumers a driving force able to shape the future of sustainable textile.
The Textile Industry Is Very Intensive
The textile industry is responsible for consuming 4% of the available fresh water in the world. A lion’s share of the fashion sector’s worldwide water use is for cotton cultivation and wet textile processes like bleaching, dyeing, printing, and finishing.
The global production of cotton is estimated to use 222 billion m³/y of water. The amount of water needed for growing cotton can be as much as 20 thousand liters per 1 kg of cotton in areas with inadequate water management practices.
The Clean Water Approach Of Naveena Denim Mills
At Naveena Denim Mills water stewardship is the core of its operations. They’re using water in a way that is socially equitable, environmentally sustainable, and economically beneficial. The denim mill strives to engage in actions that benefit people and nature.
In line with their SDG 6 ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’, they develop innovative technologies that decrease the consumption of fresh water while increasing recycled water use in production processes.
They have reduced the water intensity per product by 25% since 2019 and with their new wastewater treatment project, they aim to recycle 80% of the production wastewater by the year 2023 in accordance with Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) standards. The resulting recycled water of 15,000 Gallons water/day will be the equivalent of 2.000 people’s daily water use.
Sustainable Materials And Technologies
Naveena Denim Mills also focuses on sustainable materials and technologies that decrease fresh water use in raw materials and in production processes.
“At Naveena, we are always looking for new ways to reduce our environmental impact. Sustainable raw materials, sustainable processes, recycled materials are all examples of the steps we are taking. Our new HOLISTIC DENIM concept takes into account all these elements to provide the maximum positive impact” says the Naveena Denim Mills .
HOLISTIC DENIM is a mix of sustainable fibers and sustainable processes, taking into account as many factors as possible in the design process, such as the market demand, technological abilities of today, consumer trends, brand attitudes…The end products are sustainable products that are relevant to current market realities.
HOLISTIC DENIM line uses the most sustainable fiber alternatives in the market such as organic /PCW/PIW cotton, hemp, Tencel, CICLO, and ROICA replacing polyester and elastane. In addition to sustainable fibers, it also offers Naveena’s most sustainable dyeing and finishing process combinations, HORIZON.
Less Water, Less Energy, And Less Steam
Thanks to the innovative HORIZON technology, Naveena Denim Mills is using 80% less water, 40% less energy, and %50 less steam in production compared to conventional processes. On top of that, their SCADA system allows them and their clients to follow the whole production cycle in real-time with exact numbers of inputs and outputs such as water and energy, allowing them to make real savings.
The Stays Fresh Technology
The Naveena’s latest technology STAYS FRESH is also helping them to save water. In collaboration with Polygiene and end-users. STAYS FRESH fabrics make clothes stay fresh and odor-free so they can be washed less frequently.
They hope it will inspire consumers to wear their garments more, wash them less, and make them last longer. There are several benefits, if we all wash less, we reduce our carbon footprint, extend the life of our clothing and save energy, water, time, and money.
STAYS FRESH technology is typically applied in the finishing stages of textile production. It is a treatment based on a silver salt solution which simply makes it impossible for bacteria to multiply. The result stops the odor at the source to make your items stay fresh, and it works for the lifetime of the garment.
Calculations made with Polygiene show that only by skipping 3 washes, a consumer can save 40% water, 45% energy, 1,5 hours per week which makes 9 days in a year and nearly 500 USD per year. And get an item that lasts longer, and only by saving every 10th wash, we could save 47 million tons of CO2 and 4.5 billion cubic meters of freshwater globally.
Naveena Denim Mills During Online Event KP24
During the online event KP24 on April the 20th until the 22nd you will learn all about these new technologies by Naveen Denim Mills. So, tune in, and get educated, and inspired!