This is of course the most complicated and demanding stage for textile companies. And the hardest for you to check...
This is the phase where raw material becomes fibre, then yarn, fabric and finally clothing. Inputs in to this phase are many, from the actual raw materials to energy, water, chemicals and labor. The outputs need to be handled with just as much consideration: Waste water, solid waste and emissions to air. Once one starts to look at the many steps in the production phase, one can almost be over-whelmed by the many operations, and actually one of the most eco-efficient developments has to do with combining operations along with closed-loop systems that reuse water.
For different raw materials there are different challenges in the processing
A simple thing like recycling cut-offs (which generally constitute up to 25% of fabric in the cutting and sewing-phase) either back in to fibre-production or as material for accessories – is another way of avoiding waste. For different raw materials there are different challenges in the processing. And the challenges will vary a great deal geographically. But how can you as a consumer actually have an impact? Well, by asking questions in the store, checking labels, internet-sites and being a nuisance. You cannot check if children are actually sneaking in and out of back-doors, you cannot stand by and watch whether polluted water is siphoned out the back of the same factory. BUT you can be aware and awake. Let’s help you along.