Last Updated on May 25, 2023 by bilal
Practices in the Towel Industry: Promoting Eco-Friendly Manufacturing. Embracing sustainable practices has become imperative across industries, and the towel industry is no exception. Practices in the Towel Industry: Promoting Eco-Friendly Manufacturing. With growing environmental concerns and the need for responsible manufacturing, the towel industry has been actively seeking eco-friendly alternatives to minimize its ecological footprint.
“Most of the textile production processes, such as scouring, washing, dyeing, bleaching, sizing, and finishing, consume large volumes of fresh water and discharge large volumes of effluent which are generally with intense color, high concentration of organic compounds, and large variations in composition” as said by Takahashi & Kumagai, 2006.
This article explores the importance of sustainable practices in the towel industry and highlights creative strategies and initiatives that promote eco-friendly manufacturing. But first, let’s go through the important historical events that initiated sustainable and green manufacturing across the globe:
The Early Efforts Of Sustainable Practices
Sustainable Practice in the apparel industry can be traced back to the mid-20th century when concerns about environmental impact and social responsibility began to emerge. In the 1960s, environmental movements like the Greenpeace organization shed light on pollution caused by the textile industry. Companies like Patagonia, founded by Yvon Chouinard, emerged as pioneers in incorporating eco-friendly practices into their operations. (Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard: “The Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned From Patagonia’s First 40 Years” by Yvon Chouinard and Vincent Stanley.)
Rise Of Organic Cotton
In the 1990s, the organic cotton movement gained momentum. Organizations like the Organic Trade Association (OTA) promoted the cultivation of cotton without synthetic pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Pioneering brands such as Eileen Fisher and People Tree embraced organic cotton as a sustainable alternative to conventional cotton.
Sustainable Fashion Advocates
Prominent figures and organizations have played a vital role in raising awareness and advocating for sustainability in the fashion industry. Livia Firth, founder of Eco-Age, has been a vocal supporter of ethical and sustainable fashion. Practices in the Towel Industry: Promoting Eco-Friendly Manufacturing. She has spearheaded campaigns like the Green Carpet Challenge to promote sustainable red carpet fashion.
Fashion Revolution And Transparency
The Rana Plaza tragedy in 2013, which resulted in the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh, led to the formation of the Fashion Revolution. This global movement campaigns for transparency and ethical practices within the fashion industry, urging brands to disclose their supply chain information.
Towel Industry’s Environmental Impact
Understanding the environmental impact of the towel industry is crucial for realizing the significance of sustainable practices. This section delves into the water consumption, chemical usage, energy consumption, and waste generation associated with traditional towel manufacturing processes.
One bottleneck to the increasing use of sustainable materials across the home textiles market has been price. It is because sustainable textile products come at a premium of 15-20 percent. However, a transition to a sustainable textiles industry would have massive social, economic, and environmental benefits. Practices in the Towel Industry: Promoting Eco-Friendly Manufacturing. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey, the shift to a sustainable, circular economy would help recapture more than €400 billion in industry losses each year and still alleviate negative environmental impacts.
Did You Know?
A whopping 83% of Americans are concerned about the environmental impact of products they buy and say it’s important for companies to design more environmentally friendly products. Practices in the Towel Industry: Promoting Eco-Friendly Manufacturing
Eco-Friendly Fiber Selection
Embracing Organic Cotton
Organic cotton cultivation eliminates the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, reducing environmental pollution and promoting soil health. Towel manufacturers can shift towards sourcing organic cotton as a sustainable alternative to conventional cotton.
Bamboo Fiber Innovation
Bamboo fibers are gaining popularity in the textile industry due to their sustainable qualities. Towels made from bamboo fibers have excellent absorbency, and natural antimicrobial properties, and require less water for cultivation compared to cotton.
According to GreenPrint’s 2021 Business of Sustainability Index, 64% of Gen X consumers would spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand, and that figure jumps to 75% among millennials.
Innovative Dyeing Techniques
Traditional towel dyeing processes consume large amounts of water and release harmful chemicals into water bodies. Practices in the Towel Industry: Promoting Eco-Friendly Manufacturing. Towel manufacturers are now adopting low-water or waterless dyeing techniques, such as digital printing or air-dyeing, to significantly reduce water consumption and minimize pollution.
Efficient Production Systems
Practices in the Towel Industry: Promoting Eco-Friendly Manufacturing. Implementing water-efficient machinery, optimizing processes, and recycling water within towel manufacturing units are effective ways to conserve water resources.
Did You Know?
Greenwashing has a cost. According to a GreenPrint survey, more than half (53%) of American consumers “sometimes” or “never” believe companies’ environmental claims.
Renewable Energy Sources
Towel manufacturers can reduce their carbon footprint by transitioning to renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, for their production processes. Installing solar panels or investing in community renewable energy programs are viable options.
Upgrading manufacturing equipment to energy-efficient models and optimizing production cycles can significantly reduce energy consumption in towel manufacturing facilities.
Waste Reduction And Recycling
According to Gümüş & Akbal, the Textile industry is the foremost sector in terms of the discharged volume and the composition of the wastewater.
Towel manufacturers can collaborate with recycling organizations to repurpose post-production textile waste or post-consumer towels into new products. This approach reduces landfill waste and promotes a circular economy.
Implementing composting programs for natural fiber scraps or towels at the end of their lifecycle allows manufacturers to divert waste from landfills and create nutrient-rich compost for agricultural purposes.
Supply Chain Transparency And Ethical Practices
Promoting sustainable practices also involves ensuring fair labor conditions, safe working environments, and transparency in the supply chain. Practices in the Towel Industry: Promoting Eco-Friendly Manufacturing. Towel manufacturers can prioritize partnerships with suppliers who share similar values and maintain ethical standards
Along with prioritizing sustainability, corporate social responsibility includes instituting workplace ethics and participating in philanthropic efforts.
Role Of Customer In Sustainable Textiles
In order to create change, a consumer should:
- Buy used clothing and textiles wherever possible.
- Buy fewer, long-lasting garments and textile products.
When buying, the customer should select the new products which were made with the least energy and least toxic emissions, Practices in the Towel Industry: Promoting Eco-Friendly Manufacturing. made by workers paid a credible living wage with reasonable employment rights and conditions.
Wash clothes less often, at lower temperatures and using eco-detergents, and hang-dry them and the customer should avoid the ironing process wherever and whenever possible. Extend the life of clothing and textile products through repair. Dispose of used clothing and textiles through recycling businesses that would return them for second-hand sale wherever possible, but otherwise extract and recycle the yarn or fibers.
Threats And barriers
Socially and environmentally friendly textiles can lead to finished products that are more costly; Some consumers’ expectations are that sustainable clothing is not trendy or fashionable and that eco-clothing is unfashionable and unattractive in style and appearance. Practices in the Towel Industry: Promoting Eco-Friendly Manufacturing. There could also be insufficient consumer demand and the market needs to be established by producers and retailers who want to encourage more environmentally friendly textiles.
The towel industry has recognized the urgent need to adopt sustainable practices and embrace eco-friendly manufacturing. By incorporating strategies such as utilizing organic cotton, exploring bamboo fibers, conserving water and energy, reducing waste, and fostering transparency, manufacturers can contribute to a greener and more sustainable future. Embracing these practices not only benefits the environment but also enhances brand reputation, attracts conscious consumers, and drives positive change throughout the industry. Practices in the Towel Industry: Promoting Eco-Friendly Manufacturing. The towel industry has the opportunity to lead the way in promoting sustainable manufacturing and inspire other sectors to follow suit in their pursuit of a more environmentally responsible future.