You Waste 1.3 Billion Tonnes Of Fabric. What Are You Doing About It?

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Fabric waste is underrated.

The world cares about the environment. Air pollution, noise pollution, wastes from plastic, food and materials from our everyday lives. All this is monitored, the world is coming together to make a change, to do something about it.
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More production means more waste, leading to a negative impact on the environment. What are you doing about it?
Earth Day – 22nd April 2016 inspired me to dig deeper into our manufacturing ecosystem and find out where are we on the scale to achieve #SustainableFashion

So what is sustainability?
According to the 1987 United Nations Bruntland report Our Common Future, sustainable development is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Simply put, sustainability and sustainable development are necessary for protecting our natural environment and ecology and therefore integral for the survival of humans and other organisms on Earth.

Where does the world textile industry stand?
Textile wastes comprise 1.0 – 5.1% of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) compositions in the world regions, such as:
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Although textile and apparel manufacturing has largely shifted to developing countries, textile waste remains a big concern both in developed and developing countries. To be precise, environmental issues during the operational phase of textile manufacturing primarily include the following:

1. Hazardous materials :
Chemicals like

are discharged as effluents in the manufacturing of textiles which pose a serious health hazard.

2. Wastewater:
The textile industry utilizes various chemicals and large amount of water during the production process. The water is mainly used for application of chemicals onto fibers and rinsing of the final products. The waste water produced during this process contains a large amount of dyes and chemicals containing traces of metals such as Cr, Cu and Zn which are capable of harming the environment and human health. The textile waste water can cause hemorrhage, ulceration of skin, nausea, skin irritation and dermatitis. The chemicals present in the water block the sunlight and increase the biological oxygen demand thereby inhibiting photosynthesis and re-oxygenation.

3. Emissions to air: 
Textile manufacturing operations that generate significant sources of air pollutants include the finishing processes (e.g. coating and dyeing operations). Other significant sources of air emissions include drying, printing, fabric preparation, and wastewater treatment residues.Solvents may be emitted from coating / treatment finishing processes, drying ovens, and high-temperature drying and curing. Other potential emissions include formaldehyde, acids (especially acetic acid), and other volatile compounds, such as carriers and solvents, emitted during dyeing operations and from wastewater treatment operations. Solvent vapors may contain toxic compounds such as acetaldehyde, chlorofluorocarbons, dichlorobenzene, ethyl acetate, methylnaphthalene, chlorotoluene, among others.

4. Energy consumption:
Textile manufacturing may involve significant use of energy resources. Heat consumption is particularly significant in drying and curing operations and in activities involving wet treatments.

5. Solid and liquid wastes:
Wastes specific to the textile industry include trials, selvedge, trimmings, cuttings of fabrics, and yarns; spent dyes, pigments, and printing pastes; and sludge from process wastewater treatment containing mainly fibers and grease.

Some facts about textile waste and consumerism worth pondering upon:

What CAN you do about it?

Invest your time and energy to be more aware of the wastage and the terrible environmental impact of your manufacturing.

Invest in technology for a greener manufacturing. ThreadSol solutions – intelloBuy and intelloCut reduce fabric wastage in factories by upto 10%, boosting profits by 50%. What can be a better deal when you can save the environment while boosting your profits!

Join our #WarAgainstWastage

Reach out to us on for more information.

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1 Comment

  1. Howard N. Robin - Mfg. I.E. says

    As a former Industrial Engineer in the garment industry here in the USA, here as some positive facts you did not mention. Some knitting mills, like (1) I was employed by here in Pennsylvania, sold all their waste yarn back to the yarn manufacture they bought it from where it was processed into new yarn. Also many cut & sew firms I was involved with would NOT cut fabric if there was more than 3 – 5% waste from the patterns. Some of that waste was given or sold for reuse as stuffing material in other products – not disposed of for landfills.
    Mr. Howard N. Robin – Mfg. I.E.

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