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Industry news: Wastewater treatment in the textile industry

Coloured clothing, clear water

Fabrics of many colours, fancy patterns, varied materials – every season, the textile industry starts new trends that then reach the market. Dyeing and processing textiles uses up a lot of water – and pollutes it. Start-up SeaChange Technologies has developed a system that purifies polluted water. The pilot project was tested successfully with textile producers in India during the past months and is supposed to be expanded further in the future.

August 2020

Roughly 93 billion cubic metres of water are used in textile production every year. During the production of textiles, chemicals are used and released that are not only dangerous for humans, but also for animals and plants. About 20% of industrial water pollution worldwide comes from the dyeing and processing of textiles [1]. During the conventional treatment of wastewater toxic sludge is produced – as much as a ton per thousand tons of water. This sludge ends up on special disposal sites, where it gradually decomposes. The process of eliminating the sludge produces 90 million tons of CO2 every year [2]. US start-up SeaChange Technologies wants to stop this. The company has developed a system that cleans wastewater without producing the toxic mud.

Sludge is a thing of the past. By means of pressure and heat, the new technology is able to extract chemicals, microplastics and other undesirable substances from the polluted water without producing any sludge. During the process, CO2 is still produced, but significantly less than during conventional wastewater treatment. Together with textile producers Arvind Limited, Bestseller, C&A and PVH Corp., the initiative Fashion for Good has launched a pilot project testing SeaChange Technologies’ system. “Fashion for Good is committed to finding and supporting the most disruptive technologies, such as SeaChange Technologies, to solve key issues in the fashion value chain. SeaChange has made substantial progress in just over two years as a Scaling Programme participant, culminating in this pilot, which provides them the momentum needed to further scale their technology,” Katrin Ley, Managing Director Fashion for Good says.

The system was tested with project partners for three months. “Partnership and innovation are key to finding scalable solutions to industry challenges. This pilot allowed us to test and further understand some of the steps needed as we work to completely remove water pollution from wet processors. To drive fashion forward, we cannot stop at simply reducing our negative impacts; we must work to eliminate them,” says Marissa Pagnani McGowan, Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, PVH Corp. SeaChange Technologies is looking to enter more partnerships in the coming months to expand testing further and subsequently launch the system on the market. The start-up was awarded H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award 2020 this year. This brings the company a step closer to its vision of finding sustainable solutions and protect natural resources with its innovative approaches.

#Wastewater treatment #Sludge treatment #Water consumption #Textile dyeing #Chemicals#SeaChange #Technology #Sustainability #Innovation #Fashion for Good #Arvind Limited #Bestseller #C&A #PVH Corp

Find more information here:
Fashion for Good (2020): A ground-breaking Innovation in Wastewater Treatment

[1] Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2017): „A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future”
[2] SeaChange Technologies (2020): „Sludge“


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