Will Denim Ever Will Be Sustainable?
Is sustainable denim an oxymoron? It’s a question we’ve heard time and time again. Denim is known as one of the more resource-heavy, environmentally damaging items we buy, and the reason is simple: Denim is made from cotton—lots of it—and most cotton is grown with harmful fertilizers and pesticides and requires huge amounts of water to produce. A single pair of non-organic cotton jeans might use upwards of 1,800 gallons.
Many apparel brands have already taken various initiatives to make denim jeans production more sustainable.
What action can help us reducing the impact and make the denim manufacturing process more sustainable.
1.Use of Organic cotton Increased:
Organic cotton is grown usually using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. It maintains soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and pesticides, fertilizers, and helps to build biologically diverse agriculture.
Nowadays 100% organic cotton are being used without even bleaching of that cotton fabric where environment friendly enzyme finish and dry techniques are been used.
2.Dry techniques of denim manufacturing:
The dry technique of denim manufacturing is the process used instead of wet processing, where scraping, grinding and distressing techniques are used.
3.Eco friendly dyes:
Nowadays dyes which are being extracted from vegetable sources are also used as a colorant for denim fabric manufacturing. Natural indigo (Indigofera tinctoria) is grown in India and when it is used with environment-friendly reducing agents and alkali, the entire process becomes sustainable.
4.Recycle of Denims:
Sweden has started this process, there near about 1500 tonnes of unused, wasted material have been recycled into new denims and 50 million litres of water have been saved.
Old denims can be recycled into insulation materials used for homes, offices, hotels etc. These insulation materials are made up of 85% factory scraps consisting of cotton fibres, and natural denim. They buy scraps from the manufacturers directly. The insulation material made out of these scraps is 100% recyclable.
5.Enzyme finish in denim washing:
It is the removal of surface dyes and protruding fibres to give the garment a rough appearance. Bio-degradable Cellulase enzymes are used as an alternative of stone wash to produce this effect.
Laser treatment is a dry technique where carbon dioxide gas is being used, laser is a source of energy computer-controlled laser beams are used to change the surface colour on denim fabrics. The laser beams are projected at a desired wavelength and intensity.
Ozone has strong oxidizing nature which can deteriorates indigo dyes on the fabric’s surface, producing a bleached look. Denim fabrics are being damped and exposed to the ozone for the treatment, and the desired bleaching level can be achieved in around 15 -20 minutes. Dry ozone techniques are also available, reduces the need for bleach and water.
Denim producers and brands focus on the innovations that make jeans as durable as ever—materials crafted with thoughtful quality from sourcing to finishing. Using less resource and making less waste is aimed.
Some Great Progress Has Been Made But There Is Still Work To Be Done
Leading denim brands are working towards industry-leading targets including: 100% sustainably sourced cotton. 100% renewable energy reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chain. reduction of water use in manufacturing in water-stressed areas. Manufacturing of products made in Worker Well-being facilities in total latest by 2030.