Advanced Denim process makes blue jeans “greener”


June 19, 2012

Clariant's Advanced Denim manufacturing process cuts the amount of water, energy and chemicals needed to produce a pair of jeans (Photo: Clariant)

Clariant's Advanced Denim manufacturing process cuts the amount of water, energy and chemicals needed to produce a pair of jeans (Photo: Clariant)

Denim jeans have become a mainstay of wardrobes the world over, but with some estimates suggesting that over 2,500 gallons (9,463 l) of water, almost a pound of chemicals and significant amounts of energy are required to produce just one pair of jeans, their success has a significant impact on the environment. Now a new process developed by Swiss chemical company Clariant promises to turn blue (and other colored) jeans a shade of green.

The company claims its Advanced Denim process, which was recently highlighted at the 16th annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference, can cut the amount of water used to produce a pair of jeans by up to 92 percent while requiring up to 30 percent less energy than conventional denim manufacturing methods. Additionally, the process is claimed to generate up to 87 percent less cotton waste, which is often burned sending CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and produces virtually no waste-water.

In comparison to conventional denim production methods, which can require up to 15 dyeing vats and the use of an array of potentially harmful chemicals, the Advanced Denim process uses just one dyeing vat and replaces the traditional indigo dyes with a new generation of concentrated, liquid sulfur dyes that provide the same colors but require only a single, sugar-based reducing agent. Aside from the environmental benefits, manufacturers would see a reduction in the number of steps required to produce the denim.

According to Miguel Sanchez, a textile engineer at Clariant, if just a quarter of the world’s jeans were dyed using the Advanced Denim process, around 2.5 billion gallons (9.46 billion liters) of water would be saved every year – enough to cover the needs of 1.7 million people annually. It would also prevent the release of 8.3 million cubic meters of wastewater, and save up to 220 million kilowatt hours of electricity.

Clariant says it has received high levels of interest for its Advanced Denim process from many of the world’s leading jeans manufacturers.

The following video gives an overview of the Advanced Denim process.

Source: ACS, Clariant

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Duh, why not just dump the cotton cloth in that ink that will never come out of my back pocket once and be done with it?

Charles Couch

In light of this disturbing information, it is only right that we jeans fans go soak our head in a tub of cold water to make up for the fact that we were SOOO guilty of damaging the planet. All those "green" people and others who thought they were in sync with the planet who wore torn tattered jeans should go jump off a cliff. This is bad news... Can we sue those jeans companies for not telling us this important information?

I think i'll wear a sarong from now on...


There are lies, damned lies, and statistics. This is all of them


My buddy launched a kickstarter campaign for some pants that can go an entire week without laundering and they still look great.

That will use probably 75% less water to maintain for the life of the garment which is incredibly substantial. Not to mention the chemicals in the detergents.

Paul Van Metre

Nice to save on the chemicals. Not the water. I think the cleaner chemical process for making the jeans is great, but the intellectual insult of 'saves water' is beneath gizmag readers.

Post-global-warming, the greens moved to 'water conservation' - claiming that water is 'used'. There are many people out there who actually believe we 'consume' water and it is lost forever. This has worked here in gullible California where the state has avoided the cost of building adequate reservoirs by fining us $1000 for using our sprinklers in some cities.

Todd Dunning
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