5 Ways the fashion industry can save water



5 Ways the fashion industry can save water

The fashion industry is not an industry we often think of as having an environmental impact. When you go looking for new clothes, you consider many things, such as how the garments feel, how they look and how you will have to wash them. What we often do not think about is how much water was wasted in the making of the item.

As it turns out, the fashion industry is a wasteful one. One major statistic to consider is that it takes a whopping 2,700 litres of water to produce a single cotton shirt. Fortunately, some brands have realised the impact of the wasteful nature of the fashion industry on the environment, and have started non-profit organisations that are dedicated to finding a solution to the fashion world’s waste problem. Below are just some of the ways in which the fashion industry can save water.


Use sustainable providers

One major way in which fashion houses can save water is to use sustainable providers. This means using providers for both textiles and water who practice only earth-friendly processes to cut down on water waste. You could contact PROXA Water, one of the best desalination companies in South Africa and ask them to provide you with the water you need for your garments.

You could also source textiles from companies who support local vendors, as they are likely to be smaller and use less water in their manufacturing processes. A sustainable provider is already aware of how they are affecting the environment, and so will work to ensure that their products are made with the utmost care in mind. By using their products, you will be helping to save water and improve the environment.


Recycle cotton

As mentioned above, cotton is a major drain on the world’s water supply. Which means that a great way for the fashion industry to try and save water is to stop depending on new cotton crops and recycle their fabric instead. It is en effective way to become more sustainable as well as reuse your cotton garments for new and exciting pieces.

One of the most recent methods of recycling cotton is breaking down old, discarded or unused items into new material which can be re-spun and made into new clothes. If you are a small boutique that might not have the resources to do this, you can use your old and unsold stock to create new items by unpicking the garments and repurposing them into something different.


Change production processes

When creating clothes, a large amount of fabric gets clipped, hemmed and eventually thrown away. These wasted materials are also wastes of water, as many fabrics that designers use for their garments are manufactured with water. You should carefully scrutinise your production processes in order to make the most out of all the materials you use.

As a fashion house, you will need to change your production processes to ensure that you make the most out of each centimetre of fabric, every spool of thread and every piece of machinery that uses water or another source of electricity. If you are able to, try to source your water from one of the many desalination companies in South Africa, such as the Monwabisi desalination plant in Cape Town. Using sustainable resources in your production process is a good step towards saving water.


Perform a water audit

An effective way to save water in your manufacturing warehouse is to perform a water audit. This will give you information on what processes are using too much water and if there are any leaks in your building. A leaking tap can waste up to 20,000 litres of water in a year, so it is important that you perform an audit to find out if there are any leaking taps or any faulty equipment in your warehouse.

By performing a water audit, you can remedy any problems. This can help you to save a significant amount of money as well as have a positive impact on the environment. Make a list of all the areas in your factory or warehouse that were shown to be using too much water and think of ways to solve this. This could include changing your production processes or investing in low-flow taps and toilets. Remind your employees to be waterwise too.


Be mindful

The fashion industry needs to remain mindful of their impact on the environment. Creating stunning garments uses the world’s resources, especially if you are using cotton to create your clothes.

If you opt to use water produced by one of the desalination companies in South Africa, you are well on your way to saving water. To further this ambition, you should look for sustainable providers for your textiles, perform a water audit on a regular basis and look into changing your production processes.