Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

How much water did your jeans cost?

The fashion industry has a massive ecological footprint: the raw materials, the production, the transportation and the burning of unsold clothes all result in significant carbon emissions and wasted water. There is one item of clothing that is above all the rest in terms of environmental pollution: the ever-popular jeans.

The main ingredient of denim is cotton, one of the world’s leading raw materials, and the production of jeans uses 35% of the world’s total cotton production.

The production of one kg of cotton fibre requires about ten thousand litres of water: in India and China, approximately 120 trillion litres of water is used for cotton cultivation.

After the cotton fibre is made, it is turned into denim; that is when the textile receives its characteristic blue colour. Indigo, the dye used for the process is not water soluble, so the desired colour is achieved by soaking the textile in a bath containing various chemicals and heavy metals. To achieve the colour required, the textile is submerged in the chemical mixture 3 to 9 times.

After that, denim is turned into jeans, and various methods are used to reach the required texture and shade: chemicals are used for fading, which has its own environmental load.

What can you do if you do not wish to give up wearing jeans?

  • Look out for eco-friendly brands: the Rankbrand website is a good place to find environment-friendly manufacturers.
  • Take good care of your jeans: wash them infrequently, turn them inside out to preserve their colour, and avoid machine drying, as that deteriorates the material.
  • If you no longer need them, give your jeans a second life: sell them on the Internet or at a second-hand store, or donate them to keep them going.
Jeans production is one of the most wasteful branches of the fashion industry due to its massive water consumption Photo: Pexels
Further information: InStyle

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