Clean and Green Garment Processing

By Dr K S Murthy, Pidilite Industries Ltd

‘Clean and Green Garment Processing’, the SDC EC organised seminar was attended by 110 delegates comprising processors, brand/retailers, entrepreneurs, special guests, faculty and students. The event covered the challenges faced by the dyehouse in optimising water for the coloration of textiles and the role of the retailer. A panel discussion on “Who Pays?” followed with participation of representatives from industries including Atul Ltd, Archroma, MIDC, Brand Aniket, Wash-n-Wear and Spykar Jeans.

Mr Sachin Pulsay welcomed everyone and said the garment industries have been facing problems with water, effluents and chemicals and hence the seminar.

Mr Harish Punjabi

Mr Harish Punjabi

Keynote speaker Mr Harish Punjabi, Marketing Director, Trinity Services and presently Director at Mihir Industries highlighted the threats facing the planet and the need to combat these. He hoped that the speakers would come up with ideas for the industry.

Dr L Ravichandran, Director, Technical Business Development, Atlantic Care Chemicals spoke on ‘thinking out of the box’ such as “Sustainable laundry technologies by Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals”. He had chosen three methods, environmental xenobiotics using microorganisms; green chemistry; and enzymes. The target is:

  1. improving the performance of the finished quality
  2. less impact on the environment
  3. reduced utilisation of natural resources
  4. process time reduction
  5. user-friendly and economical
Dr L Ravichandran

Dr L Ravichandran

Green chemistry focuses on minimising hazardous chemicals and maximising efficiency. Action plan for initiating ZDHC by using environmentally benign substances including natural products and sustainable organic chemicals for emulsification, separation of dyes etc.

The aim is to design products with efficacy of function while reducing toxicity. Make homogeneous finished products renewable rather than depleting resources. Replace stoichiometric chemical additives with enzyme based chemistry. Reduce carbon dioxide emissions connected to global warming or climate change.

They had a landmark achievement of replacing potassium permanganate with modified natural clay (typical mud of Middle East).

People-Planet-Profit: Take care of the end-users by creating a safe and healthy environment with skin friendly chemicals and organic finishing methods. Limit the adverse effect of the process house to the planet and environment by an efficient use of natural resources and address the carbon footprint.

Roadmap for achieving sustainable processing: The segments are green industry, and green initiative. Green industry is striving for pathway of growth with initiatives in developing and implementing products, process systems and policies that encourage environmentally responsible fashion. Greening of industry includes policy making, improved production processes and resource efficient productivity management to initiate low carbon footprints. The carbon footprint of a product is the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that are emitted as part of its manufacture, distribution, use and disposal. The ways to reduce the carbon footprint by efficient heating, ventilation and reduction of water consumption by process amalgamation. Sustainable laundry technology application is to achieve efficient use of water, energy, chemicals and time.

Mr Jaydeep Umalkar

Mr Jaydeep Umalkar

Jaydeep V Umalkar, Marketing Manager, SF Dyes spoke on “Green Coloration of Garment Processing”. It is time for the implementation of savings of water and energy, reduction in the use of natural resources and in effluent load as well as an increase in production efficiency. Processes like Eco Dip, Ecotint / Ecocoat andsalt free dyeing were discussed with the challenges and advantages.

Eco Dip: water consumption reduced by more than 80% reduction in energy and higher production of denim and non-denim coloration. This process is applicable to reactive, pigment and sulphur dyes using eco-friendly reducing agent and even without oxidation and post-washout.

Ecotint / Ecocoat: similar results obtained with all colours. Application by spray-cure technology and zero sulphide.

Salt free dyeing: three bath process (pretreatment, coloration and washing) in light to medium to dark shades against normal coloration (5-6 baths) using all dye classes with no salt addition, post wash-out and effectiveness in low liquor ratio machines. Salt free dyeing (dispenses with high TDS in the effluent) and no machine staining.

Advantages: customised production (design, operation) with competitive edge, saving water, energy and manpower; lower effluent treatment cycle and cost with higher productivity.

Challenges: classified as discontinuous and manual process with existing machines; skilled people stick to the job with expertise to do something new and fashion driven.

Mrs Rajeshree Netalkar

Mrs Rajeshree Netalkar

Mrs Rajeshree Netalkar, Manager, Textile Solutions, Atul Limited, handles brand coordination and laundry garment business, spoke on ‘Clean and Green Garment Processing’. Garment processing is not just laundry or washing unit and comprises washes, dyeing, drying, sandblasting, spraying, curing etc.

Advantages: smaller dyeing lots for major fashion trends are possible. She focused on products compliant to brands RSLs; Best Available Technology by reducing use of resources, energy and water and complying to social and environmental laws as well as adhering to ZDHC. Atul have segregated dyes to meet major brand RSLs and provide a list to the trade. Products are screened (Potassium permanganate and Hypochlorite etc) to give garment solutions. Rudolf Atul Chemicals Ltd manages products meeting garment and RSL requirements. New technologies for bleaching like ozone and laser technology besides dyes with high exhaustion that reduce effluent load.

Social and environmental sustainability: The garment industry is a labour intensive sector and how are they benefited? To sustain business, take care of workers and government regulations.

Labour standards: child labour (factory should ensure children attend school), working hours (60), wages and benefits are also audited by brands. Health and safety is yet another important aspect. Proper lighting, housekeeping, spillage; personal protection equipment and ventilation.

Activities of garment processors and hazards. Laser technology entails machinery with noise emanating and chances of accidents due to fire which can be minimised by training the workers. Ozone for bleaching and fading effects produces less effluent load. This sustainable technology is used for decolorising paper pulp. The aim is to meet global environment demands of effluent so that it does not go into the water course. Where an ETP exists, divert the effluent conforming to regulations.

Future prospects with few organised units for fast fashion trends, the units should have skilled labour and technicians and meet global health and environment standards for which training is mandatory.

Panel Discussion: Who Pays?

Panel discussion

Panel discussion

Moderator Mr V R Sai Ganesh (Atul Ltd) remarked that garment processing is an unorganised sector and the removal of colour going into wastewater needed ETPs (Effluent Treatment Plants) to reuse the water. With the government becoming more stringent, Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals is mandatory. These operations are associated with additional cost for the use of cleaner and greener technology and consequently who is going to pay? The panelists shared their experience and knowledge.

Mr Padmakar Nandusekar, MIDC said CPCB has classified 18 potential textile activities into three categories:

  • A – Red (highly polluting)
  • B – Orange (medium polluting) and
  • C – Green (no pollution) and activity requires environmental clearance.

‘A’ category requires environmental clearance from central government .‘B’ category from state government. He listed the textile materials coming under those categories. Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) is designed for a particular inlet standard and for larger and medium scale industries. Wastewater discharge is:

  • equal to or less than 100 mg/ltr BOD and
  • 250 mg/ltr COD.

MIDC has developed textile parks in some areas and there are 25 CETPs in Maharashtra. Dyebath effluent is segregated and treated separately. SSI units undertake primary treatment at pH 5.5-8; substandard material 100 mg/litre; BOD 30 mg and COD 250 mg. Textile units having dyeing processes and all integrated textile units where wastewater discharge is greater than 25KLD shall establish Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) ETP. Mr Nandusekar concluded that cleaner production is the continuous application of integrated preventive strategy applied to process, product and services for eco-efficiency and safety of human and environment and Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India has laid the emphasis on waste minimisation.

Mr E Sivakumar, Business Development, Archroma India Private Ltd said that looking in a holistic manner the ultimate process cost should be less than what we have today regardless of product cost. Eventually, we are paying the cost whether buying a better product or tax. They have developed products and processes eg advanced denim and machinery for only two dips without colour effluent and no salt and sulphur. This is cleaner and greener with less energy and effluent. The other concept is ‘One Way’ sustainability service where BOD and COD are calculated for each and every product and process.

Mr Rajesh Desai, General Manager, Wash & Wear. As a garment processor, he said they do domestic washing on job work for different brands. At present water shortage is a big problem though they have no issues regarding chemicals, hazardous chemicals and labour. Whether this kind of wash and wear effects are required where colour bleeding occurs with consequent affect on water and how to save water?

Mr Aniket Satam, Proprietor, Aniket Brand. “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months” Oscar Wilde. Mr Satam spoke about “Green Trends in Fashion” highlighting:

  • Khadi Denim (introduced recently, handmade, low cost, Indigo dyes used)
  • Upcycling (prime focus)
  • Insta-Fashion (social media; runway to reality with cycle between production and store getting reduced)
  • Interactive Fashion (Brands are easily accessible and targeted by the consumers)

Designers are conscious of innovation in terms of design and application. Fashion is getting season-less due to climatic conditions; Investment-Centric (expensive products); Timeless / Classic due to monotonous lifestyle; Back to basics (90s are coming back); Slow Fashion Movement (sustainable); Runway to Rack module. A drive called Fashion Revolution Day started on 24th April 2014 – wear garments inside out, label it, follow that brand on social media and upload your photo with a message (Who made my clothes? – 24.04.2015) and across the world people are actively participating in creating such awareness. So the consumer is interactive and asks more questions today.

Mr Siddhartha Wilson, Director, Spykar Jeans said as a brand, major challenges faced by them are sourcing jeans from an organised factory across India with vertical set up for the last 14 years. From sourcing point of view, he wished for more factories as per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clarion call to ‘Make in India’. There are few factories which understand denim and the way of making it when compared to other countries. China makes fashion forward products that has entire line of compliance in every format of production in place viz. washing, stitching etc.

Proposing a Vote of Thanks, Mr Sumit Gupta, Secretary offered special thanks to the speakers and audience for making a success of the function. The event was sponsored by Atlantic Care Chemicals; ATE Enterprises Limited; SF Dyes; Vaishnavi Global Private Limited and Zen Technologies.

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