Garment production uses a surprising amount of water. But maybe not so surprising when you consider it requires growing crops, ginning/spinning fiber, dyeing that fiber, printing patterns in addition to the wash of the garment after construction. However, there are factories who practice sustainability and have found alternatives that won't use as much water as traditional manufacturing. Here's how those factories save what and what they use instead.
Water waste in textiles
It can take 20,000 liters of water to manufacture one t-shirt and one pair of denim jeans. Cotton is one of the thirstiest crops and on average, one cotton shirt takes 2,700 liters of water. (Source: Sustainable Campus) Not only is the amount of water needed during production high, but growing these materials can have a huge impact on our water supply. This is a concern because of the water scarcity people face around the globe that might interfere with the local community's drinking water.
Water reducing alternatives at factories
Although the amount of water used is concerning, progress is being made! There are currently factories that use one glass of water to dye a pair of jeans as opposed to the usual 998 gallons that's traditionally used (and we have them on the THR3EFOLD platform!). One way to have the biggest impact on water waste is to source from factories that use alternative textile materials that require less water, opt for low water materials as opposed to cotton, or that use these ozone based waterless machines.
Water reducing efforts at brands
Levis has created a waterless collection in their efforts to combat the water waste during their denim manufacturing. Zero Waste Daniel and Tonle are brands who choose to prioritize deadstock fabrics into their production so they know that they aren't contributing to water waste through new virgin material production. You can increase your efforts too by working with your suppliers. Ask your factory if they offer deadstock or source from sustainable textile mills.
There is always a more sustainable option for your brand, it's just about finding the right fit, and what makes the most sense for you. Your brand doesn't have to be fully sustainable to have a positive impact because anything helps! If you want to look into deadstock fabric options, join our Deadstock District Community. It's also helpful to reach out to your ethical factory because they might be able to offer you any deadstock fabric they have on hand. Still need ethical apparel sourcing? Our platform is ready for you so join today!