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Textiles- Green fabric processing is here to stay
07
Jul '08
Textile companies around the globe are adopting innovative 'green' fabric processing techniques to bring cotton's environmental footprint inline with sustainability goals in the world market.

And to spread the word about what's now feasible in eco-friendly textile processing, Cotton Incorporated has released a new DVD, Sustainability: The Textile Revolution. It's the follow-up to Cotton Incorporated's initial DVD on cotton's agricultural sustainability, and features global technology developments and mill case studies from China, India, and Latin America, as well as the United States and Europe.

Berrye Worsham, president and CEO of Cotton Incorporated, notes, “We work hand in hand within the industry to get these new ideas into mills because we believe it's our responsibility to increase the demand for cotton in a more sustainable manner. We also feel that part of improving the long-term sustainability of cotton products is to communicate these developments to the market.”

In the DVD, Dr. Sam Winchester, a chemical engineer and professor emeritus at North Carolina State University and a consultant to Cotton Incorporated, points out that sustainability “is not a fad or something that will go away. It's here with us and it has great, great impact on the future of the planet,” he observes.

“About 85 percent of the water used in textile processing is in wet processing, predominantly dyeing and finishing,” Winchester points out, saying that in addition to the energy required to heat up that water, about 75 percent of all the energy — and 65 percent of the chemicals — needed to convert fiber into apparel are used in dyeing and finishing.”

The DVD dramatically demonstrates these new finishing innovations, including enzyme finishing used in place of high-alkaline chemicals in scouring; foam finishing of fabrics that reduces water use and chemical discharge; digital printing of fabric that uses no harsh solvents and curtails waste of fabric and ink; a low-salt reactive dyeing process that gives a twentyfold reduction in salt use; low-liquor dyeing that uses air rather than water to transport fabric; bleaching techniques that dramatically reduce water use; dyeing and finishing done in the same stage in the same bath, ozone finishing, and more.

Among Cotton Incorporated's partners featured in the DVD are Novozymes, Gaston Systems, Huntsman International, Fong Textile Machinery Co. Ltd., Innova International, BASF China, Freshtex, DyStar, Vijayeswari Textiles, Swift Galey, Marks and Spencer, JC Penney, and Nike.

As Nike corporate responsibility executive Sarah Severn says in the DVD, “With an increasing population we've got to be really careful about how we treat the environment that we're living in and how we relate to society. My ultimate dream is that the whole team that we have in place is really not necessary within ten years, perhaps, because this will just be the way everyone does business.”

Cotton Incorporated

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