Decoding Design

Swiss firm's denim manufacturing reduces water use by 92 percent

Swiss firm's denim manufacturing reduces water use by 92 percent

Posting in Energy

A new combination of chemicals and dyes enables the process.

Clariant, Swiss chemical company says it has an anti-dote to the convention, water- and energy- consumptive denim manufacturing process. Let's just hope the new recipe doesn't make all jeans look as terrorized and stained as those in the press photo that Clariant provided (above) with its press release. Wow.

But I digress.

Clariant says its process, which it has branded "Advanced Denim," can produce denim for a pair of jeans with up to 92 percent less water and up to 30 percent less energy than conventional denim manufacturing methods. Advanced Denim generates no wastewater, the company says, and up 78 percent less cotton waste. (Perhaps Clariant has refined the system since it produced the video, below, which says the cotton waste is cut by 63 percent.) Because this type of waste is generally burned, this represents an additional reduction in carbon emissions.

The key difference between Clariant's process and conventional denim production is its use of "liquid sulfur dyes that require only a single, sugar-based reducing agent." These dyes are also engineered to be less hazardous than the indigo-based dyes used in conventional systems, it says. The Advanced Denim dyes are also concentrated, such that the amount of chemicals used is also reduced.

Clariant says it is already working with a number of jean makers, but did not name them. I wonder if that includes Levi's.

Clariant also recently joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, an industry group that is developing an index for measuring the environmental impact of clothing and footwear. Other members include Adidas, Levi Strauss and Gap, Inc.

Via: Clariant, GizMag

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Mary Catherine O'Connor

Contributing Writer

Mary Catherine O'Connor has written for Outside, Fast Company, Wired.com, Smithsonian.com, Entrepreneur, Earth2Tech.com, Earth Island Journal and The Magazine. She is based in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure