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The environmental cost of textiles What effect does our buying behaviour have on the environment? As consumers what can we do to make a difference?

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Presentation on theme: "The environmental cost of textiles What effect does our buying behaviour have on the environment? As consumers what can we do to make a difference?"— Presentation transcript:

1 The environmental cost of textiles What effect does our buying behaviour have on the environment? As consumers what can we do to make a difference?

2 Environmental pollution the addition of any substance or form of energy (e.g., heat, sound, radioactivity) to the environment at a rate faster than the environment can accommodate it by dispersion, breakdown, recycling, or storage in some harmless form. Air pollution Water pollution Land pollution Noise pollution Chemical pollutants

3 The environmental cost of textiles Key issues to consider 1. Fibre production 2. Fabric production including spinning, weaving, knitting, pre-treatment, dyeing and finishing 3. Production of products 4. Retail and distribution

4 Fibre production Natural Synthetic Regenerated

5 Fibre production Natural Sustainable resources. Biodegradable Plant Cotton - heavy use of pesticides. Annually 10,000 fatalities of pesticide poisoning in third world countries. Vast quantities of water required for production (?). Air pollution Animal Sheep - methane gas production. Scouring uses vast quantities of water Silk – ethical/moral issues with regards to extraction of silk from the worm

6 Fibre production Synthetic Unsustainable resource Non bio-degradable Petrochemical

7 Fibre production Regenerated Sustainable resource Bio-degradable Environmentally friendly (Lyocell production) v’s non-environmentally friendly (Viscose production) Hot – Bamboo fibre – plant can grow 4 foot per day(?)

8 Fabric production Spinning Weaving/Knitting Pre-treatment Dyeing Finishing

9 Fabric production Spinning Air pollution - may affect humans directly, causing a smarting of the eyes or coughing. Noise pollution

10 Fabric production Weaving/Knitting Air pollution Noise pollution

11 Fabric production Chemical pollution pre-treatment include: Scouring Bleaching Mercerization Singeing Optical brightening-fluorescent colourless dyes, And others

12 Fabric production Dyeing Principal pollutants: residual colour in effluent. The pollutant load of discharged dye liquor is generally low, although reactive dyes still have relatively poor exhaustion rates. Where these dyes are used coloured effluent is still a problem. Water usage in dyeing is relatively high since it not only includes the dye liquor, but also all the preparative, rinsing and finishing stages involved in the application of colour. Typically, from 4 to 50 litres of water is used to dye each kg of textile. This ratio is highly dependent on the type of dye machine, the fabric to be dyed and the class of dyestuff used to match the customer’s requirements.

13 Fabric production Finishing Principal pollutants: Fume, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), and isocyanates. A wide range of solvent types are still used, although in much lower volumes, in coating and lamination processing. Where emissions exceed consent, which in the UK varies between 50mg/m³ and 150mg/m³ (as carbon), then process modification, such as solvent replacement or if this is not possible then some form of abatement is required. This can be done using carbon absorption or thermal oxidation/incineration, usually with heat recovery. The formulations used in lamination and some coating processes commonly include isocyanate. The health implications of inhaling significant levels of this chemical are severe, and so strict limits are set on both workroom exposure and process emission concentrations to atmosphere.

14 Production of products Garment processing to include stone- washing, bleaching and sand-blasting. – see PowerPoint denim and the environment Garment dyeing Post-cure garments such as variants of non-iron/easy care Research Okeo-tex

15 Retail and distribution Fast fashion Disposable fashion Fads v’s classics Shipping/air Carbon foot print

16 Useful website:

17 The Environmental Cost of Textiles agency.gov.uk/business/444304/444639/ ?lang=_e agency.gov.uk/business/444304/444639/ ?lang=_e


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