Water is a precious commodity and, unfortunately, a constantly depleting natural resource in the world today. Factors including the global reduction in rainfall, the continued deforestation of the planet, industrial usage and pollution of water have all contributed to the water crisis of the Earth. It is estimated that 750 million people around the world lack access to safe drinking water – that is approximately one in nine people who have no access to our natural resource!
Denim manufacturing is a water intensive process. On average, a pair of jeans consumes 60 litres of water during the production cycle. We at Denim Expert Ltd. believe that is imperative to investigate methods to reduce water consumption, to do our small part for the good of the planet and to help save water for the next generation. We have been working on this project over the last five years and have implemented the following initiatives:
- The philosophy of ‘Less is More’ regarding water consumption. Wherever possible we strive to use less water, whether it be in the wet processing of garments, with or steam boilers, in the gardening around the factory grounds and even in our wash rooms.
In all wash processes we analyze methods of saving water (more details below!) in our gardening activities we utilize treated effluent water from the laundry and every wash room at the factory has a clearly displayed sign, saying ‘Save Water = Save Life’.
- In-house training: We arrange regular training on water system management and ways to use water efficiently for all employees of the factory and have published a water saving handbook for all staff.
- Effective water management: Denim Expert Ltd. Have installed water flow meters to monitor water consumption at different sections throughout the factory and have a water leakage monitoring and repair process in place together with an upgraded water maintenance schedule to check all water related equipment.
- Efficient washing machines: We conducted an in-depth study of the washing machine manufacturers around the world and picked the most efficient machines for our plant. Usually the washing machines in a laundry perform at a garment to liquor ration of 1:10, whereas the machines we have in our factory work efficiently to give a similar aesthetic look at water levels as low as 1:4.
- Not satisfied with the investment in the washing machines alone, we went one step further. We challenged ourselves as to how we could combine fewer technique-based finish processes to reduce, or to eliminate one or more of the wet finishing steps, so that repeated use of water is eliminated. For example, our factory can combine the desize, and enzyme steps into one bath cycle whereas traditionally, we would use three bath cycles. We have now developed 12 different wet processing techniques in which we can combine bath cycles, thus saving water.
- Ozone machines: The use of ozone machines helps in reducing the back-staining levels in garments during the wash process, hence these machines help us in reducing the amount of water and chemicals used in laundry. With the above practices in place, our average consumption of water per jean stands at 24 litres a jean, whereas the industry average is about 60 litres.
- Rain water harvesting: We are blessed with almost 7 months of rain during the monsoon months in Bangladesh. We have installed a rain water harvesting system at our factory premises and we collect the rain water that falls in an underground reservoir. The quality of the water quality is pristine and we use the collected water in our laundry.
The apparel industry is a notorious consumer of water form the growing of crops, through to the finishing of production, through to the water used domestically by the end consumer. We at Denim Expert Ltd. are trying to minimize our water usage during the production process and will continue to investigate further initiatives that contribute to the reduction of water used at the plant.