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Bangladesh’s Sustainable Denim Revolution: Leading the Charge in Eco-Friendly Fashion

Denim has been revered for its durability, versatility, and timelessness wearing in the fashion industry for decades. But traditional denim production process has significant environmental and social impacts that made the clothing items disastrous in the world. So the shift towards sustainable denim washing is gaining momentum as brands and consumers become more aware of the need for environmentally friendly practices. As Bangladesh’s denim industry is a global hub for garment manufacturing that stands at the forefront of the sustainable denim revolution. This article explores the facts and advancements driving the rise of sustainable denim manufacturing in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh's Sustainable Denim Revolution: Leading the Charge in Eco-Friendly Fashion

Understanding the traditional denim process

Traditional denim washing processes involve substantial water usage, chemicals, and energy. The common methods include stone washing, chemical treatments, and sandblasting to achieve various textures and colors. These methods have several detrimental effects like use up to 70 liters of water per garment. Harsh chemicals like chlorine and potassium permanganate are used that contaminates water sources and pose health risks to workers. It also requires high energy inputs to heat water and run machinery. Methods like sandblasting can cause respiratory issues among workers.

The shift to sustainable denim process

The move towards sustainable denim washing aims to address these environmental and social issues. Key sustainable methods include –

Laser Technology: laser technology to create patterns and distressed denim that eliminates the need for water and chemicals. This method is precise because for reduces waste of water and improves worker safety.

Bangladeshi denim factory Ha-Meem is one of the largest companies in South Asia, who uses a large number of Laser machines in the Laundry. Mr.Sajid Azad Director of Ha-Meem Group said- “At present Ha-Meem Group has 88 Laser machines. We are using three special brands of Laser: Jeanologia, Macsa ID and SEI Laser. We have experienced Laser designers (local and abroad). All kinds of designs we can make as per Buyer’s requirements. Our Laser capacity is about 100,000 pieces per day. We always try to update our technology to satisfy our Buyers”.

Ozen Washing: Use of Ozone gas to bleach and clean denim significantly reduces water and energy consumption and this method does not require harmful chemicals.

Nano Bubbles: This innovative technique uses nanobubbles to reduce the need for water and chemicals. It enhances the efficiency of washing processes and improves fabric quality.

Shah Rayeed Chowdhury, Director of Evince Group said, “Argon Denims as a committed supplier of sustainable products by using less water with minimal energy. Using new technologies and concepts in products and processes, fabrics are developed to support the circular economy. Argon will present its product range to support the environment, society and economy.”

Eco-friendly Chemicals: Replacing conventional chemicals with biodegradable and non-toxic alternatives minimizes environmental impact.

“we are able to promote both the country and denim industry and change the perception of Bangladesh and firmly establish the country as a leading powerhouse in the global denim supply chain” said Syed M Tanvir, Managing Director of Pacific Jeans.

Water Recycling Systems: Implementing closed-loop systems for water recycling drastically reduces water usage in denim production.

Director of SIM Group, ASM Raisul Hasan Shoaib, highlights their focus on sustainability, stating, “Our main objective is to position SIM Group as a reliable source of sustainable products. We are actively developing fabrics using Texloop recycling yarn, Orbital Hybrid Yarn, recycled/regenerated and organic yarns with a process that emphasizes sustainability by minimizing water usage and energy consumption.”

Bangladesh as a hub of sustainable denim factory

Green denim factories in Bangladesh represent a significant shift towards sustainable and eco-friendly manufacturing practices in the textile industry. As Bangladesh is known for its substantial garment manufacturing sector and so increasingly the country is embracing green technologies to reduce environmental impact and improve worker safety.

Many green denim factories in Bangladesh strive for certifications like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), OEKO-TEX, and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) to ensure adherence to high environmental and safety standards. These factories focus on innovative water recycling and treatment systems that are employed to minimize water usage and pollution. Processes like waterless dyeing and eco-friendly finishing techniques are commonly used in the production. A healthy working environment with fair wages and labor practices are contributing to the overall social sustainability in the industry.

Some prominent green denim factories in Bangladesh

Bangladesh hosts a significant number of green denim factories that are known for their environmentally friendly practices and certifications. Currently the country has over 215 LEED-certified green factories where significant sustainable denim production process indicating that the industry’s strong commitment to sustainability. The below is some pioneer green denim factories.

Pioneer Denim- Factory located in Gazipur, which has received recognition for its sustainable practices and innovations in the denim manufacturing process. Got Platinum LEED certificate from USGBC at January 15, 2019. Pioneer Denim stepped in the manufacturing of denim fabric by keeping a closer eye to the environmental factors of production. Sustainability is their utmost priority and environmental friendly denim fabric has been their goal and priority since the start. They save almost 20% of water and 18% energy.

Envoy Textiles Ltd. – This factory, located in Mymensingh, is renowned as the world’s first denim-producing green factory. It holds a LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council (USGBC) at March 31, 2016.

Vintage Denim Studio – Recognized as the first factory in the world to receive the LEED Platinum certification in 2012, marking a significant milestone in sustainable textile production.

Remi Holdings Ltd. – Based in Narayanganj, this factory is another major green initiative in Bangladesh, contributing to the country’s leadership in sustainable garment manufacturing. It holds a LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council (USGBC) at July 15, 2016

Denim Processing Plant – Recently added to the list of LEED-certified factories, it helps maintain Bangladesh’s position as a global leader in green textile production. It received a LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council (USGBC) at October 09, 2021

Ayesha Akter Managing Director, of Denim Processing Plant Ltd, said, “I think Green is not accosted its saving and by these green initiatives, DPPL adopted energy, water, and material savings.  The Bangladesh government has tried to support green clothing makers. Our global buyers should pay the right price for green initiatives. Besides, we need to attach a green tag with our garments for branding Bangladesh.”

In conclusion it could be said the importance of sustainable denim washing extends beyond mere environmental benefits. It encompasses social responsibility, economic efficiency, and meeting evolving consumer preferences. As the fashion industry continues to grapple with its environmental impact so the shift towards sustainable denim process represents a crucial step towards a more responsible and sustainable future. In terms of sustainable denim Bangladesh is one of the largest producers of denim garments globally, and with growing environmental concerns along with apparel brands the country can contribute to the preservation of our planet while continuing to offer stylish and durable denim products in the market.

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