The Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Group reached a significant milestone by issuing a Manufacturing Restricted Substance List (MRSL), a first for the apparel and footwear industries.
After more than 2 years of close collaboration between the ZDHC apparel and footwear brands, experts from the ZDHC Technical Advisory Committee and apparel industry, the ZDHC Group developed and is releasing a list of substances restricted from intentional use by the manufacturing supply chain.
"With the release of the MRSL, our message to industry is clear," said ZDHC Programme Manager Cheryl Kreindler. "By delivering the change that we would like to see in all parts of the supply chain—brands, chemical suppliers, manufacturers and other intermediaries—we hope to motivate dyehouses, chemical suppliers, other brands and key stakeholders to adopt ambitious chemical management standards. Our goal is to encourage them to innovate and establish new ways of reducing and eliminating hazardous chemicals," she added.
The ZDHC MRSL establishes concentration limits for substances in chemical formulations used within manufacturing facilities that process textile materials and trim parts for apparel and footwear. These limits are designed to eliminate the possibility of intentional use of listed substances.
The list will assist brands, supply chains and the broader industry in adopting a harmonised approach to phasing out/substituting hazardous substances potentially used and discharged into the environment during manufacturing and related processes. The ZDHC Group expects that material suppliers and factories will communicate with their chemical suppliers to deter the use of the listed substances in chemical formulations above the established limits.
Development of the MRSL
Using a transparent framework to screen hazardous chemicals in the apparel and footwear industry for elimination, the ZDHC Group developed a list of priority chemicals for action. Those identified substances for which there are existing safer alternatives were placed directly on a Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) for phase out.
Chemicals on the MRSL include ingredients potentially used in cleaners, solvents, adhesives, stabilizers, paints, inks, detergents, dyes, pigments, auxiliaries, coatings and finishing agents used for wet processing, maintenance, wastewater treatment, sanitation and pest control. Substances identified as priority chemicals without safer alternatives were placed on a Research List for additional investigation.