The Options For Reasonable Tactics
As a new generation of environmentally conscious consumers wield their buying power, the textile marketplace has had to adapt to restructure, and consolidate the manufacturing supply chain, and continues to do so. Software has facilitated this reform, and automation has a huge role to play. Sustainability is driving the agenda, and rightly so. Not so long ago just being organic was considered ‘good enough’, but today’s consumer has an eco-conscience and the market must supply the products that they want to purchase. The fashion industry is the second-biggest consumer of water, producing 20 percent of wastewater, while also generating more greenhouse gas emissions and using more energy than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. Traditional processes of dyeing and printing textiles put huge strains upon local eco-systems worldwide and the raw material resources of the countries that they operate in. It is well known that Digital Textile Printing has an extraordinarily low consumption of electricity. It is typically 3.5% of the Screen Printing energy requirement, however it is in its water usage that the difference is really paramount. Taking printed cotton as an example, each metre printed by conventional reactive printing uses between 50 and 60 litres of water per metre produced, in order to generate the colour depth and fastness required. This water is then discharged as effluent into the local water system where the chemicals and dyes used pollute the local environment, unless they are re-processed through expensive effluent treatment plants. By contrast, digitally printed cotton virtually eliminates the consumption of water and the discharge of noxious effluents.
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