Why do we need a sustainable approach more than ever?
India is among the world’s largest manufacturers and exporters of textiles. In terms of economic activities, the Indian textile industry forms the second largest sector of the global trade market. In 2019-2020, the domestic textile market in India was estimated at USD 100 billion with increasing exports estimated at USD 50 billion with the market estimated to reach USD 1230 billion by 2024. The Government of India has taken significant measures to enable the textile industry to attract large-scale investment, job creation and global competitiveness.
Recently, our environment is increasingly facing multiple threats such as pollution and global warming. Industries have multiple environmental impacts – huge reliance on water and energy resources, lack of proper disposal, and harmful chemicals used in manufacturing. Therefore, it is more important than ever for companies and sectors like the textile industry to apply mindful practices in their production processes. An effective monitoring system and compliance with the necessary guidelines can help make industries environmentally sustainable.
The order of the day is innovation and research, followed by the adoption of sustainable solutions on a large scale. Both globally and in India, there is a consumer shift towards sustainable, cruelty-free fashion that needs to be encouraged and promoted and embraced by companies in their operations.
How to make the textile industry sustainable
Focus on sustainability at every step of the process: A sustainable and circular approach must be adopted in all operations, from the sourcing of raw materials, manufacturing and supply chain to the final product delivered – all this and more to leave a greener earth for future generations.
As a result, the inputs and outputs are healthy and safe for consumers and the environment. The production and processing of sustainable textiles, made from renewable or recycled sources, will help reduce the harmful impact on the environment and ensure that millions of workers earn fair wages and work in safe conditions.
Developing eco-friendly products like paper from agricultural residues, producing organic yarn, managing resources that are under-used or under-used, and harvesting rainwater are some of the options companies need to respond to.
The preferred strategy should be to focus on input management and not just tailpipe management. This can be defined as a 5R approach – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Re-Engineer and Re-Design.
recycling of resources
To transform and restructure from linear to circular operations, organizations need to focus on utilizing pre- and post-consumer waste. That means focusing on how to conserve water by using techniques like Zero Liquid Discharge plants to reclaim millions of gallons of water each year. This water can then be recycled for various uses. Water is also reused by treating waste from different production units. Likewise, waste fibers are recycled to make yarn and other eco-friendly textiles. This method reduces the loss of important resources. Discarded PET bottles are processed into flakes, which are then finely processed into a thread and cut into yarn for spinning. In terms of performance, such recycled 100% polyester fibers are just like virgin polyester fibers.
The final result
Sustainable textile production techniques are still in the testing phase. Efforts are being made to develop cost-effective methods of treating polluted water. If implemented effectively, these developments can help create a sustainable environment. In the past, textile production was only geared to a specific need without worrying about the future impact. Today, widespread awareness has changed the entire scenario. Industry players leave no stone unturned to develop sustainable fibers and fabrics. Therefore, in order to sustain the textile industry, we must bring sustainability by improving resource productivity, cost efficiency, co-efficiency, customer satisfaction and environmental conditions.
The views expressed above are the author’s own.
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