What is the cost of any production? Most of the time it’s, unfortunately, the amount of waste and harm done to the environment. “The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world ... second only to oil,” a recipient of an environmental award has said. So what does this leave us with? Thoughts about what to do to decrease the amount of wastes and pollutions done to our surrounding environment through garment productions. And this is where the game changer comes, the Green or Sustainable manufacturing. This article is going to be all things eco-loving and show what’s been going on in the world lately, to help reduce the damage by our favorite apparel industry.
Green manufacturing has been around for many years, but as we can see, the damage still exists. And as much as it is not possible to completely get rid of the wastes and reduce the harm to zero, we are the generation that does not stop until they have achieved what they wanted. And in this case, what we want is Sustainable Manufacturing of Garment which will not damage the environment, or at least will do it minimally.
The good thing is that nowadays environmental responsibility among different manufacturers has become popular, which means they all try to do their best to convince consumers that they are caring. This results in actual efforts of many producers to pay more attention to the “well-being” of the surrounding world and revolutionize the idea of sustainability in manufacturing.
First and most important sections that need the positive changes are the dyeing and finishing stages of garment production. Water is one of the resources used thoughtlessly left and right during those stages since 85% of it is needed to dye clothing or push them through the machines for the finishing stage. Thankfully, some manufacturers use air for the latter purpose, which eliminates the amount of water waste.
What concerns garment coloring, a relatively new technology, known as AirDye, has stepped into the arena to help reduce the volume of water that is being spent on the dying. It is said to use 95% less water than usual coloring, and 86% less energy, which reduces the contribution to global warming by 84%. A pretty good start, isn’t it? The only trick though is the fact that AirDye only works on synthetics, whereas a good chunk of garment production uses cotton and other natural fibers too.
Digital Printing brings some interesting thoughts first and foremost. Since the entire world is leaning towards everything digital, why not use it to eliminate the waste of natural resources? Apparently, that thought has crossed the minds of a lot of people, because it’s working. 95% of water waste is eliminated through direct printing on the material. For the production of such printing equipment, we can thank Japanese companies like Itochu Corp.
Another contribution to green manufacturing has long been the use of recycled materials to create fibers. Recycled PET, nylon from carpets and others make it possible to reuse materials by recycling them, which results in fewer wasted to no wastes at all. It’s safe to say that using recycled products is probably one of the most environment-friendly strategies.
Remember the natural organic fibers mentioned a few sentences prior? The very well known stinging nettle, which was used even during WW2 by the Germans, has recently made some comeback in the Garment Industry. It’s resistant, very easy to wash, and no, it’s not stinging at all.
So let’s recall what has been said in here. Apparel Industry harms the environment a lot, being the second most polluting type of production after oil. And there is an extreme necessity of Green Manufacturing to ease the situation. For that reason, a lot of technologies have been developed to reduce the damage and the amount of wastes of natural resources. AirDye, Digital Printing, Recycled materials are just the beginning of a better, greener and more sustainable manufacturing.