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Textiles: P2 Opportunities
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Reasons for Change
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Chemical Screening And Inventory Control
Shows method for rapidly verifying the consistency of chemical specialty products, and the environme...

Pollution Prevention in Textiles

As discussed in the section Reasons for Change, the textile industry has tremendous incentive to continue adopting more efficient ways of manufacturing textile products.  Economic incentives, combined with the impact on the environment through the tremendous demand on natural resources and generation of waste in the form of water pollution, air pollution and solid waste drive the need to develop and adopt new techniques and technologies.  Examples of this environmental impact include the average 160 pounds of water it takes to produce 1 pound of textile product, or the average 175 tons per month of solid waste generated per textile facility (solid waste data based on American Textile Manufacturers Institute 1989 survey of 290 manufacturers). 

Although pressure to improve efficiency has steadily increased in recent years, the textile industry has been adopting ways to reduce waste generation and conserve natural resources for decades.  General practices to reduce waste, conserve natural resources, and improve operational efficiency historically adopted by the industry include: 

  • Chemical alternatives, substitutions

  • Consumer, installer, end user information

  • Design stage planning of processes, products and facilities

  • Developing markets for wastes

  • Enhanced chemical expertise and general industry competence

  • Equipment maintenance and operations audit

  • Global, integrated view of manufacturing

  • High extraction, low carryover process step separations

  • Incoming raw material quality control

  • Inventory control

  • Maintenance, cleaning, non-process chemical control

  • Material utilization in cutting and sewing

  • New and improved production equipment

  • Optimized chemical handling practices

  • Process alternatives

  • Process modification

  • Raw material prescreening (prior to use)

  • Raw material substitution

  • Reducing disinformation, politics

  • Risk assessment methods, data and procedures

  • Scheduling to minimize machine cleaning

  • Segregation, direct reuse

  • Standard tests, methods and definitions

  • Technology transfer of pollution prevention successes

  • Training programs, worker attitudes

  • Waste audit

(Source The Future of Pollution Prevention - An Alternative to Costly Waste Treatment

There are hundreds of resources discussing these methods for improving production efficiency and reducing waste from textile operations. Below is a listing of those resources that provide good technical information related to the sources of pollution and the prevention and recycling of waste and that are available to the public free of charge. These resources have been divided into those that apply across the industry sector and those that apply specifically to the yarn formation, fabric formation, wet processing and fabrication stages of textile production.

Industry Wide Resources

Operations Description

Pollution Prevention and Recycling

Solid Waste Markets 

Yarn Formation Resources

Pollution Prevention and Recycling 

Fabric Formation Resources

Wet Processing and Finishing Resources

Operations and Chemistry   

Pollution Prevention and Recycling   






The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Textiles Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange
Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange
Contact email: abray@newmoa.org

Hub Last Updated: 3/11/2008