Sustainable solutions for the
textile & clothing industry
Lots of companies claim that they work in a sustainable manner. When this is not supported by facts, these terms become empty words. Alcon Advies can assist your company to give content to these terms by advising on the selection of materials, design for recycling, recycling in design, sustainable processes for bleaching, dyeing, printing and finishing of textile materials.
The selection of materials has a huge impact on the sustainability of textile products. The right choice of materials contributes to the functionality of a product, increasing the durability and implying that the materials can be recycled when discarding the product. If one already starts with selecting recycled materials, which is of course favored due to their low environmental impact, often a more sustainable product can be made. However, the use of recycled fibers does not automatically lead to a sustainable product. Unfortunately, it is more complex, but Alcon Advies can calculate the environmental impact of the choice of the materials. In this way, an optimal advice on the most appropriate raw materials for a product in a specified application can be given.
When designing a product, it is recommended to take the end-of-life scenario of the product into account. Design for recycling (D4R) and recycling in design (RiD) are tools to prevent the development of products which are only to be landfilled or incinerated when discarded. By applying R4D-rules, the chances for recycling the used materials for a 2nd, 3rd of 4th time increases dramatically. By using RiD, the design is already based on recycled materials. This may cause limitations in the design with respect to look and color, but in a well-chosen design this can become an added value for the product.
It is often thought that the finishing of textiles has the biggest environmental impact in the whole textile and clothing production chain. This can be true when the production takes place in countries paying little attention to environmental issues. There are numerous developments aiming for a strong reduction of the environmental impact of textile finishing. Processes like enzymatic scouring and bleaching, ink-jet dyeing and printing, super-critical CO2 technology and plasma treatment, may seem far-fetched and unrealistic, but are in practice available in a number of textile finishing companies. Application of these technologies instead of the traditional processes, decreases the use of water, energy and chemicals and increases the sustainability of the products significantly.