Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Manufacturers can now make ‘green’ jeans

Making denim results in significant water and air pollution.
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
Every year approximately 2 billion jeans are made worldwide. 

The manufacturing of just one pair of jeans entails the use of 2,500 gallons of water, one pound of various chemicals and a whole lot of energy. It is therefore no surprise that the denim industry contributes a great deal to both water and air pollution.
At a recent Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference, however, a more eco-friendly manufacturing process was introduced. 

The Advanced Denim process offers several alternative options during production. Jeans can now be made with 92 percent less water and 30 percent less energy. The amount of cotton waste can be reduced by 87 percent and instead of using 15 dyeing vats full of harmful chemicals, this new process uses only one vat and replaces harmful chemicals with more eco-conscious liquid sulfur dyes.

The history of denim-making

Denim is made from a rough kind of cotton called rugged cotton twill. Up to 10 percent of the world's pesticides are used for treating cotton. Literally tons of water is used to grow the raw material. And in order to make denim what we know it to be, indigo dye is used to color the jeans blue. 

Today, indigo dye is, for the most part, produced synthetically. Chemicals, such as aniline, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and sodamide are used to make the dye, all of which can have negative health effects. Some are skin and respiratory irritants, while others are carcinogenic.

Studies have lead scientists to believe that if the Advanced Denim process was used to produce only 25 percent of the jeans made worldwide, 1.7 million people would have their water needs met every year. In addition, 220 million kilowatt hours of electricity would be saved, reducing corresponding carbon dioxide emissions.

Is it surprising to know how many jeans are made every year?  What do you think about this new Advanced Denim process?

Source: ACS

Improving air quality within manufacturing facilities

The RAP series is just one of
Electrocorp's air cleaners
for chemical plants
Though there are many benefits to using this new Advanced Denim process, it will take time for companies to apply this system to their factories. In the meantime, a lot of harmful chemicals are used to make the blue dye we so love in jeans.

It is the companies’ responsibility to ensure their employees are working in safe environments and good indoor air quality is part of that health and safety. As long as chemicals are used, chemical exposure and fumes are a risk. It is in the best interest of the companies to provide an air cleaning solution which will keep employees breathing easy.

Electrocorp manufactures air cleaning units for the industrial sector. Our units can range from small air cleaners which can be placed close to the source of the harmful chemicals or fumes, to large units that can be attached to an HVAC system, cleaning the entire central air system.

To find out more about our air cleaners, contact us or speak to one of our IAQ experts at 1-888-667-0297.

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1 comment:

  1. Great news!
    Nice to here that "Jeans can now be made with 92 percent less water and 30 percent less energy"