Process generates up to 87 percent less cotton waste.
A Swiss chemical company has developed a method of making a pair of denim jeans using less water and power input.
Using just one vat (the container where denim is treated) plus specially developed chemicals, the "advanced denim process" developed by Clariant reduces the production steps in denim dying.
Conventional denim production methods require around 15 or more dyeing vats and an array of chemicals. Clariant's process uses just one vat and what it calls "eco-advanced," concentrated, liquid sulfur dyes, and a single sugar-based reducing agent.
In addition, the process generates up to 87 percent less cotton waste, and virtually no waste water.
According to Miguel Sanchez, a textile engineer at Clariant, their process can produce a pair of jeans using 92 percent less water and up to 30 percent less energy than conventional denim manufacturing methods.
With one pair of jeans requiring an estimated 2,500 gallons of water and vast amounts of energy, and billions of people around the world buying and wearing the popular clothing item, reductions to the industry's sizable carbon and water footprint are key to its sustainability.
According to Mr. Sanchez, if just 25 percent of the world's denim jeans were dyed using their method, it would save about 8.3 billion cubic gallons of water a year, save up to 220 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and reduce the industry's carbon dioxide emissions.
Clariant is currently working with jeans manufacturers around the world interested in adopting the process. Mr. Sanchez recently presented their findings at the Green Chemistry & Enineering Conference sponsored by the American Chemical Society's Green Chemistry Institute. – K.R. Jalbuena