Travel the world, and you’ll see that there is an enduring fashion staple that’s been exported from America…actually, the American West: the blue jean.  It’s a fashion mainstay, but manufacturing denim puts a big hit on the environment: Ya know what goes into producing just one pair of jeans?  Twenty-five hundred  gallons of water, nearly a pound of chemicals, and a whole lotta energy.  In fact, the traditional denim dyeing method uses up to 15 dyeing vats.  But something new is coming: Swiss chemical company Clariant has developed a new generation of liquid-sulfer dyes that produce the same colors but require only a single, sugar-based reducing agent (whatever that is.)  The benefits are enormous: the process uses only one dyeing vat, produces 87% less cotton waste, uses 30% less energy, and…get ready…92% less water!  Clariant estimates that if only one-quarter of the world’s jeans were dyed with their “Advanced Denim” process, it would prevent the release of 8.3 million cubic meters of wastewater and save 220 million kilowatt hours of electricity.  And that’s how to make blue jeans…green jeans!

Despite the "earthy" image of blue jeans, denim production takes a toll on the environment. But a new generation of dyes eliminates wasted cotton, preserves energy and cuts process time. And it saves a surprising amount of water!

Credit: Today's Green Minute

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