Textile Wet Processing and the call for a Closed loop System

Blog post by: Karun Tyagi

Textile wet processing is the dyeing, printing, and finishing of textiles that requires a substantial amount of water, energy, and chemicals. This procedure is essential to the textile industry, yet it has serious environmental repercussions.

Water pollution is one of the most serious environmental consequences of textile wet processing. Huge volumes of water are required for the process, which is frequently released into rivers and other bodies of water after use. This effluent contains a variety of compounds that can be detrimental to aquatic life and human health, including as colours, detergents, and heavy metals.

Textile and garment processing is a significant industry worldwide, with more than 8000 dyes and chemicals used in the process. However, the environmental impact of textile wet processing is enormous. The losses of colorants to the environment can reach 10–50%, and 80-150 liters of water are used to produce 1 kg of fabrics. Moreover, the textile industry discharges 2.5 billion tons of wastewater annually, accounting for roughly 17 to 20% of industrial water pollution. In wet processing hubs, estimates say 90 percent of the local groundwater is polluted, and 75-100 toxic chemicals in the water supply are from textile dyeing.

The impact of textile wet processing on the environment is not limited to water pollution. Wet processing contributes 36% CO2e in the textile supply chain. Moreover, textile effluent is a toxic cocktail of inorganic and organic chemicals that requires multi-stage treatment. Unfortunately, most of these wet processing operations occur mainly in developing nations with limited ability to treat effluent, resulting in significant environmental and health hazards.

To reduce the environmental impact of textile wet processing, the industry needs to adopt sustainable and eco-friendly practices. One of the most effective ways to reduce the environmental impact of textile wet processing is to adopt a closed-loop system. In a closed-loop system, water and chemicals are recycled and reused, reducing the amount of fresh water and chemicals required in the process.

A closed-loop system is a sustainable manufacturing method that involves recycling and reusing materials and resources to limit waste output, conserve resources, and lessen production’s environmental effect. The output of one operation becomes the input for another in a closed-loop system, resulting in a closed loop of material and resource flow.

This is how it works:

1.Water Recyclability
The water used in textile wet processing is treated and recycled in a closed-loop system. The water is purified and reused in following manufacturing steps after being treated to remove impurities and contaminants. This minimises the amount of fresh water needed, conserves water resources, and reduces wastewater generation.

2.Chemical Reuse
Similarly, textile wet processing chemicals are recycled and utilised in later processing steps. The chemicals are cleaned and reused after being treated to remove impurities and pollutants. This decreases the need for new chemicals, conserves resources, and reduces trash output.

3.Reducing waste generation
A closed-loop system contributes to waste reduction in textile wet processing. The amount of waste generated and the environmental impact are decreased by recycling water and chemicals. The trash generated is handled and disposed of responsibly, lowering the danger of pollution and environmental impact.

4.Cost-effective
Textile manufacturers can also save money by using a closed-loop system. Manufacturers can save money on these resources by lowering the amount of water and chemicals needed. Furthermore, by reducing waste generation, manufacturers can save money on waste management and disposal.

5.Environmental Advantages
A closed-loop system has a number of environmental advantages. The technology conserves resources and reduces waste output by recycling water and chemicals. This minimises the environmental impact of textile wet processing by lowering the amount of water and chemical contaminants emitted into the environment.

Recycling and reusing chemicals and water in textile wet processing can minimise the quantity of pollution emitted into the environment dramatically. Furthermore, recycling and reusing chemicals and water can help to conserve resources, cut costs, and boost efficiency. Alkali, acid, surfactants, salt, and dye are some of the chemicals that can be recycled and reused in textile wet processing. Water, the most important resource in textile wet processing, can be recycled and reused.

To summarise, textile wet processing has a huge environmental impact, with the sector emitting massive volumes of wastewater and harmful chemicals into the environment. However, adopting environmentally friendly and sustainable practises, such as a closed-loop system, can significantly reduce the environmental impact of textile wet processing. These practises must be adopted by the industry in order to prevent pollution, save resources, and safeguard the environment.

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