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Carbon Footprint of Textile and Clothing Products

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Carbon footprint is an important ecological parameter representing the amount of greenhouse gas emission due to production and use of different materials. Being produced in one of the biggest industries in the word, textile and clothing materials are responsible for high energy usage and significant carbon footprint. In this context, this chapter presents an overview of carbon footprint of different natural and synthetic textile fibers and their products. Definition, concept and importance of carbon footprint are discussed. Key textile processing stages responsible for high greenhouse gas emissions have been identified and various modern strategies to reduce carbon footprint of textile industries have been discussed.
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141
7Carbon Footprint of Textile
and Clothing Products
Sohel Rana, Subramani Pichandi,
Shabaridharan Karunamoorthy, Amitava Bhattacharyya,
Shama Parveen, and Raul Fangueiro
7.1 INTRODUCTION
There exists an enormous pressure on the earth to protect its natural environment. Human activi-
ties, increase in human needs, and sophistication lead to deterioration of the natural environ-
mental system. Consumption of electricity, food, clothing, etc., is steadily raising, leading to a
continuous growth of related industries. So the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission is also
continuously increasing. Excessive emission of GHG elicits pollution and worsens the condition
of nature.1
CONTENTS
7.1 Introduction .......................................................................................................................... 141
7.2 Greenhouse Gases ................................................................................................................ 142
7.2.1 Types of Greenhouse Gases ...................................................................................... 143
7.2.2 Sources of Greenhouse Gases .................................................................................. 144
7.3 Carbon Footprint .................................................................................................................. 145
7.3.1 Denition of Carbon Footprint and Other Related Parameters................................ 145
7.3.1.1 Global Warming Potential ......................................................................... 145
7.3.1.2 Carbon Footprint ........................................................................................ 145
7.3.1.3 Energy Intensity ......................................................................................... 146
7.3.2 Global Carbon Footprint and Its Effects .................................................................. 146
7.4 Carbon Footprint of Various Textile Processes .................................................................... 147
7.5 Carbon Footprint of Natural Fibers and Their Products ...................................................... 149
7.5.1 Carbon Footprint of Cotton Fiber Products .............................................................. 152
7.5.1.1 Carbon Footprint of White Long Shirt ...................................................... 153
7.5.1.2 Comparison of Carbon Footprint of Different Cotton Products ................ 155
7.5.2 Carbon Footprint of Wool Fiber and Products ......................................................... 155
7.5.3 Carbon Footprint of Jute Fiber and Products ........................................................... 156
7.5.4 Carbon Footprint of Linen Fiber Products ............................................................... 157
7.6 Carbon Footprint of Synthetic Fibers and Their Products ................................................... 158
7.6.1 Carbon Footprint of PP Shopping Bags....................................................................158
7.6.2 Carbon Footprint of Products Produced from Regenerated Fibers .......................... 160
7.7 Modern Strategies to Reduce Carbon Footprint of Textile Processing ................................ 161
7.8 Conclusions ........................................................................................................................... 163
References ...................................................................................................................................... 164
142 Handbook of Sustainable Apparel Production
There are two types of carbon footprints:
1. Primary carbon footprint
2. Secondary carbon footprint
Primary carbon footprint is the result of direct emission of GHG due to combustion of fossil fuels,
and this type of carbon footprint is in our direct control. Primary carbon footprint is the outcome
of transportation, domestic energy consumption, etc. On the other hand, secondary carbon footprint
is the result of indirect emission of GHG during the entire life cycle of different products. This may
occur due to use of clothing, recreation and leisure goods, etc.1,2
Many organizations have been formed to keep an update and control over the carbon footprint.
The following are some of the organizations working internationally to reduce GHG emissions and
that developed some of the standards or standard methods to evaluate GHG emissions:
International Standards Organization (ISO)
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development
(W BCSD)
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)–International Energy
Agency (IEA)
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)
California Climate Change Registry
Some of the agencies such as IEA and U.S. DOE maintain and publish statistics on the energy
consumption and emission levels of CO2 and thereby help to control the emission of GHG by
various countries. The former works for ensuring reliable, affordable, and clean energy for its
member counties and the rest of the world, and the latter works for the United States. UNFCC was
established in 1992 and helps to stabilize the concentration of GHG in the atmosphere at a certain
level, preventing dangerous human interface with the climate system. IPCC is a scientic body
that gives a clear view on climate change all over the world. Currently, more than 195 countries
are members of the IPCC that actively participate in the assessment of climate change. LBNL is
associated with and managed by the University of California. It is conducting research on a wide
range of topics including environmental assessment and emission of GHGs. California Climate
Change Registry collects the veried reports on GHG emission in the region of California and
the rest of the regions too. It helps to stabilize the emission of GHGs in the recorded regions of
California.
These organizations have developed standards to study the presence of GHGs and quantify
GHGs; equivalent factors for GHG; GHG protocol; guidelines for monitoring, evaluation, reporting,
verication, and certication of energy-related projects; and saving of water.3 Even after the effec-
tive control of GHG emission, many regions such as Latin America, Asia, and China are still above
and continuously increasing than the global average CO2 emission of 1.3 gigaton in 2009–2010.4
In this chapter, various aspects, types, and sources of GHG, carbon footprint and its importance,
carbon footprint of various textile processes, and natural as well as synthetic ber products will be
discussed in detail.
7.2 GREENHOUSE GASES
GHGs are the basis of assessment of carbon footprint of various processes, products, and enti-
ties. The sun produces radiation that reaches the earth mainly in three wavelength regions,
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143Carbon Footprint of Textile and Clothing Products
namely, ultraviolet, visible, and infrared. These radiations coming to the earth are partly
reected and partly absorbed. The absorbed radiation increases the temperature of the earth
and radiates some of the energy. When equilibrium is achieved between absorbed and radiated
energy, almost constant average temperature is achieved. Such emitted radiations may not be
reected completely from the earth and may be partially absorbed and trapped by the gases
present in troposphere. The absorbed gases are reected in all directions and some of the radia-
tions are returned back to the earth. This leads to increase in temperature of the earth resulting
in global warming. This effect is called as a greenhouse effect. The gases responsible for this
effect are GHGs.
7.2.1 Types of Greenhouse Gases
There are six different types of gases present in the atmosphere giving signicant impact on the
greenhouse effect:
Carbon dioxide (CO2)
Methane (CH4)
Nitrous oxide (N2O)
Hydrouorocarbons (HFCs)
Peruorocarbons (PFCs)
Sulfur hexauoride (SF6)
These gases can be divided into two broad categories based on their presence in the atmosphere.
Some of these gases are naturally present in the atmosphere, and concentration of these gases
increases continuously due to human activities. CO2, CH4, and N2O are examples of such gases.
The other type of gases is not naturally present in the atmosphere and is created only due to human
activities. Chlorouorocarbons are examples of such gases.
Figure 7.1 shows the volume of GHGs emitted in the collective regions of Australia, Europe,
the United Kingdom, and the United States, as reported by UNFCCC for the year 2012. From the
gure, it can be commented that CO2 stands for the highest position in the emission of radiation
responsible for global warming, accounting for approximately 81%, followed by CH4 (≈10%), N2O
(≈6%), and uorides (≈2%).5
Carbon dioxide
Methane
Nitrous oxide
Hydrofluorocarbon
Perfluorocarbon
Sulfur hexafluoride
FIGURE 7.1 Emission of GHGs in 2012. (From Hertwich, E.G. and Peters, G.P., Environ. Sci. Technol., 43,
6414, 2009.)
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144 Handbook of Sustainable Apparel Production
7.2.2 sources of Greenhouse Gases
Many sectors emit GHGs that affect the natural environment. The following list gives some of these
sectors that play a major role in the emission of GHG:
Residential sector
Industrial sector
Commercial sector
Transportation
Agricultural sources
Waste management
Transportation accounts for 12% of total emission of GHG in Australia. It has been reported that
the emission of GHGs due to domestic transport increased by 27% between 1990 and 2006. Studies
reported that public transport can minimize energy per passenger per kilometer by 65% as com-
pared to a motor vehicle.6 According to the regulation imposed by the IPCC, the United Kingdom
should reduce GHG by at least 80% by 2050 in various sectors, including industries like aviation
1990
2500
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2000
Residential
Commercial
Industrial
Transportation
Other sources
2000
1500
1000
500
0
FIGURE 7.2 Emission of carbon dioxide by different sectors. (From U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical abstract
of the United States: 2012, pp. 221–242.)
2000
2004
2005
2006
2007
Year
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
5000
6000
7000
Emission of CO
2
(in million metric tons)
2008
2009
2010
2011
1990
FIGURE 7.3 Year-wise emission of carbon dioxide in the United States. (From U.S. Census Bureau,
Statistical abstract of the United States: 2012, pp. 221–242.)
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145Carbon Footprint of Textile and Clothing Products
and shipping. From 2011 onward, all ights arriving and departing from EU airports have been
covered under these regulations.7
In India, the total emission of GHG in 2007 was around 1727.71 million tons, among which
57.8% GHG emission resulted from the energy sector, which includes transportation, electricity,
residential, and others.13 Figure 7.2 shows the emission of CO2 by different sectors. It is clear that
the transportation sector plays a vital role in the emission of CO2, followed by industrial, residential,
commercial, and other sources.
Figures 7.3 and 7.4 show the total emission of CO2 and other GHGs from 1990 to 2009 in the
United States. It can be noticed from these gures that the emission of CO2 was much higher in
volume than the emission of other gases.
7.3 CARBON FOOTPRINT
Carbon footprint is the term used to evaluate the total emission of GHGs by human activities. Few
other terms are also used to quantify the emission of GHG and slightly vary in their method of mea-
surement and system of representation. The following section gives the denition of different terms
that are regularly used in the eld of carbon footprint.
7.3.1 DefiniTion of carbon fooTprinT anD oTher relaTeD parameTers
7.3.1.1 Global Warming Potential
Global warming potential (GWP) is a relative measure of how much heat a GHG traps in the atmo-
sphere to contribute toward global warming and compares the amount of heat trapped by a certain
mass of the gas under study to the amount of heat trapped by a similar mass of CO2. This system of
representation may be useful when we evaluate the condition of nature over a long period of time.
GWP is the relative effect of climate change over a certain period of time. For example, for 20years
of duration, it can be represented as GWP20 and for 100years, GWP100.9
7.3.1.2 Carbon Footprint
Carbon footprint is the measurement of the amount of GHG produced through burning of
fossil fuels for electricity, heating, transportation, etc., and it is expressed in terms of tons or
1990
0
200
400
600
800
2000 2004 2005 2006
Year
2007 2008 2009
Methane
Nitrous oxide
High-GWP gases
Emission of green house gases
(in million metric tons)
FIGURE 7.4 Year-wise emission of GHG in the United States. (From U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical abstract
of the United States: 2012, pp. 221–242.)
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146 Handbook of Sustainable Apparel Production
kilogram or gram CO2 equivalent.9 It can be calculated in terms of GWP using the following
equation:9
Climate change = iGWPa,i × mi (7.1)
where
GWPa,i is the GWP for the substance i integrated over a specied number of years
mi (kg) is the quantity of substance i emitted
The result is expressed in kilogram or tons of the reference substance, CO2.
7.3.1.3 Energy Intensity
It is dened as the ratio of total energy consumption to gross domestic product (GDP).10
7.3.2 Global carbon fooTprinT anD iTs effecTs
The world’s average emission of GHG per capita is around 5.8 tons CO2.13 The carbon footprint
of countries like UAE, Luxembourg, the United States, and Australia is much higher than the
world’s average value when emission of GHG per capita is considered. In Singapore, the emission
of CO2 had reduced by 53% in 2008 as compared to the highest emission in 1997.11 The decrease
in emission of CO2 with respect to per capita was up to 64% during this period. Even though the
per capita actual rate was reduced to 6.8 tons/year, the emission of CO2 was above Asia’s aver-
age emission of CO2 (3.3 tons/year/capita) and much higher than the world’s average.11 By 2030,
New York has targeted to reduce its citywide CO2 emissions by 30% than the emission level in
2005.12 On the other hand, per capita emission of developing countries like India is far lower than
some of the other developing and developed countries. In India, per capita emission of CO2 in
the year 2007 was around 1.5 tons/year, which is much lower than the world’s average. All over
the world, 1.5 billion people are in short supply of electricity and around 27% of these people
(404.5 million) are living in India.13 Use of less electricity is responsible for lower per capita CO2
emissions in India. In 2007, combustion of fossil fuel accounted for 93% of energy consumption
in China.10
Agriculture accounts for around 14% of total GHG emission contributing to 52% of CH4 emit-
ted all over the world and around 84% of world’s N2O emission. N2O is capable of trapping 310
times higher heat than the heat trapped by CO2 and CH4 is able to trap 21 times more heat than
CO2.14
IPCC identied that combustion of fossil fuel is one of the major sources of CO2 emission lead-
ing to global warming. In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was signed, and according to this, 37 industri-
alized countries are supposed to reduce their GHG emission in the period of 2008–2012 by 5.2%
lower than the GHG emission in 1990.14
Figures 7.5 and 7.6 show the carbon footprint of different countries in the world in 2001.5 In this
study, GHG emissions associated with the nal consumption of goods and services in eight differ-
ent sectors such as construction, shelter, food, clothing, mobility, manufactured products, services,
and trade were quantied. From these gures, it can be seen that Europe records the highest carbon
footprint and Africa gives the lowest carbon footprint when the volume of GHG emission is consid-
ered (Fig ure 7.5). But when the emission of GHG per capita is considered, Australia stands for the
highest, followed by Europe, North America, Africa, South America, and Asia.5
Some of the effects of increase in the emission of GHGs are as follows1:
Effects of heat waves and other extreme events (cyclones, oods, storms, wildres)
Changes in patterns of infectious disease
Effects on food yields
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147Carbon Footprint of Textile and Clothing Products
Effects on freshwater supplies
Impaired functioning of ecosystems (e.g., wetlands as water lters)
Displacement of vulnerable populations (e.g., low-lying island and coastal populations)
Loss of livelihoods1
7.4 CARBON FOOTPRINT OF VARIOUS TEXTILE PROCESSES
Textile industry is identied as one of the largest producers of GHG all over the world.15 Kissinger
et al. reported that textiles and aluminum generate the highest GHG emission per unit of material.15
The textile industry is indicated as the fth largest contributor of CO2 emission.16,17 In 2008, the
global production of textiles reached 60 billion kg of fabric. It had consumed around 1074 billion
kW h of electricity (which is equivalent to 132 million tons of coal) and approximately 9 trillion
liters of water. Among the total consumption of electricity for textiles, only 15%–20% was con-
sumed in the production of textiles and most of the remaining electricity was consumed in launder-
ing processes. Electrical energy was reported to be one of the major energy consumption sectors in
the textile industry.18 Electrical energy is primarily spent for the following processes:
Driving machinery
Cooling
Temperature control
Lighting and ofce equipments
The electrical energy breakdown for a composite plant is shown in Table 7.1. It can be seen from the
table that the spinning industry takes the major share of electricity with 41%, followed by weaving
and wet processing units.18,19
78.7
25.7
53.8
36.4 32
402.7
Europe
Asia
Africa
N. America
S. America
Australia
FIGURE 7.5 Carbon footprint of various parts of the world (ton/year). (From Hertwich, E.G. and Peters,
G.P. , Environ. Sci. Technol., 43, 6414, 2009.)
0.03
0.12
0.13
Europe
Asia
Africa
N. America
S. America
Australia
FIGURE 7.6 Carbon footprint per capita of various parts of the world (ton/year). (From Hertwich, E.G. and
Peters, G.P., Environ. Sci. Technol., 43, 6414, 2009.)
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148 Handbook of Sustainable Apparel Production
Table 7.2 shows the machine-wise electrical energy breakdown in the spinning sector. From the
table, it can be seen that the spinning machines, namely, ring and open end spinning, jointly con-
sume more than 50% of the energy consumed in the spinning industry.
Table 7.3 shows the percent share of global consumption of different types of textile bers all
over the world in 2008. From the table, it is clear that polyester and cotton stand for more than 75%
of global consumption.16 Therefore, the carbon footprint of textile industries mostly comes from the
production, processing, and use of the products made from these bers.
Recycling of textile materials is an important process in the textile industry that has a strong
impact on the carbon footprint. The recycling industry diverts approximately 10 lb/capita or 2.5
billion lb of postconsumer waste from landll.20 In the United States, 70 million lb of scrap is
deposited as landlls annually.21 In Japan, around 2 million tons/year of textiles are sent to landlls.
In the United Kingdom, around 3.3 million tons/year of textiles are recovered in which around
2 million tons are exported to other developing countries and 1.2 million tons of textiles are recy-
cled. Around 70% of the world population mainly uses secondhand clothes.22 Wool is comparatively
easy to recycle than other bers. In the United Kingdom, 40% of the wool garments are recycled,
7% of wool garments are incinerated, and 53% are disposed as landll.22 It has been reported that
the energy required for the reuse or recycling process of polyester is only 1.8% of the total energy
consumed by the virgin ber. Also, reuse of 1 ton of cotton ber needs only 2.6% of the energy
required for the virgin material.23 Therefore, recycling and reuse are important processes to reduce
TABLE 7.1
Typical Breakdown of Electricity Use in Composite Textile Industry
Sector Electrical Energy Consumption (%)
Spinning 41
Weaving preparatory 5
Weaving 13
Humidication 19
Wet processing 10
Lighting 4
Others 8
Source: Choudhury, A.K.R., Text. Prog., 45, 3, 2013.
TABLE 7.2
Machine-Wise Breakdown of Electrical Energy in Spinning Industry
Machine Electrical Energy Consumption (%)
Blow room 11
Carding 12
Drawing machine 5
Combing machine 1
Simplex 7
Ring spinning machines 37
Open end machines 20
Winding machine 7
Source: Choudhury, A.K.R., Text. Prog., 45, 3, 2013.
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149Carbon Footprint of Textile and Clothing Products
carbon footprint of textiles. Some examples of the applications of recycled materials are as follows:
T-shirts can be used as wipes and polishing clothes, bers recovered from carpet waste can be pro-
duced as nonwovens and mats, and polymers from carpet melt can be used for automotive and other
consumer products and also for matrix of composite materials.24
7.5 CARBON FOOTPRINT OF NATURAL FIBERS AND THEIR PRODUCTS
The emission of CO2 in case of natural bers occurs during preparation, planting, and eld oper-
ations (weed control, mechanical irrigation, pest control, and fertilizers), harvesting, and yields.
During production of natural bers, normally two types of fertilizers are used such as manure and
synthetic chemicals. The use of synthetic fertilizers is a main component of conventional agricul-
ture leading to signicant carbon footprint. The production of 1 ton of nitrogen fertilizer emits
approximately 7 tons of CO2 equivalent GHG.25,26
According to studies carried out by the Stockholm Environment Institute on behalf of the Bio
Regional Development Group,25 the energy used and CO2 emitted to manufacture 1 ton of ber is
much higher for synthetic than natural bers (cotton and hemp). The details of CO2 emission of
various natural bers as well as polyester ber are provided in Table 7.4.
TABLE 7.3
Global Consumption of Textile Substrates
Fiber Consumption (%)
Polyester 39
Cotton 36
Polyamide 6
Other cellulosic bers 5
Acrylics 3.5
Wool 2
Silk 0.2
Other bers 8.3
Source: Athalye, A., Carbon footprint in textile processing, 2012, http://www.bre2fashion.com, Accessed
March 18, 2014.
TABLE 7.4
Kilogram of CO2 Emissions per Ton of Spun Fiber
Crop Cultivation Fiber Production Total
Polyester (USA) 0.00 9.52 9.52
Cotton, conventional (USA) 4.20 1.70 5.90
Cotton, organic (USA) 0.90 1.45 2.35
Cotton, organic (India) 2.00 1.80 3.80
Hemp, conventional 1.90 2.15 4.05
Sources: http://www.sei-international.org/mediamanager/documents/Publications/SEI-Report-Ecological
FootprintAndWaterAnalysisOfCottonHempAndPolyester-2005.pdf, accessed on March 10, 2014;
http://oecotextiles.wordpress.com/2011/01/19/estimating-the-carbon-footprint-of-a-fabric/,
accessed on March 10, 2014.
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150 Handbook of Sustainable Apparel Production
Natural bers, in addition to having lesser carbon footprint25 in the production of spun ber,25,26
have several additional advantages:
Fibers are capable of being degraded by microorganisms (biodegradation) and composted
(improving soil structure); in this way the xed CO2 in the ber will be released and the
cycle will be closed.
Sequestering carbon: sequestering carbon is the process through which CO2 from the
atmosphere is absorbed by plants through photosynthesis and stored as carbon in biomass
such as leaves, stems, branches, roots, and soils. For instance, 1 ton of dry jute ber leads
to absorption of 2.4 tons of carbon.26
Producing cotton bers through organic way provides lot of advantages over conventional process
such as less GHG emission, use of less energy for production, and environmental benets.25,26
According to a study published in Innovations Agronomiques (2009), organic agriculture emits
43% lesser GHG than conventional agriculture. The research carried out by Cornell University
revealed that organic farming required just 63% of energy required for conventional farming. In
addition, it is found that organic farming adds 100–400kg of carbon per hectare to the soil each
year and when this stored carbon is included in the carbon footprint, it reduces the total GHG even
further.25,26
In case of the life cycle of cotton textiles, it is seen that about 50% of CO2 emissions occur during
ber production, manufacturing of goods, trade, and transport and the remaining 50% are caused
by daily usage. Figure 7.7 shows the key CO2 sources during cotton textile manufacturing process
from ber to garment.27
In Europe, light oil and gas are the primary energy sources, but in China the preferred energy
source is usually the coal. CO2 emissions from natural gas are only around 50% of those produced
when coal is used as the energy source (see Figure 7.8). In China, around 80% of electricity is pro-
duced by thermal power plants. As a result, textiles made in China have a carbon footprint that is
around 40% greater than in Turkey, Europe, or South America, simply on the basis of the selected
energy source.27
Within the full supply chain cycle of cotton textiles/garments (apart from the consumer use
phase, i.e., washing and drying), the ber manufacturing phase emits the most GHG. Cotton incor-
porated (2009) assessed that GHG emissions were around 1.8kg CO2e/kg of ber. In a parallel
study performed on Australian cotton, GHG emissions were assessed around 2.5kg CO2/kg of ber,
Electricity,
42%
Chemicals,
dyes, 9%
Misc., 2%
Primar
y
energy,
47%
FIGURE 7.7 CO2 sources within the textile value-added chain for a pair of trousers made of 100% cotton
manufactured in China in 2012. (From Strohle, J., Textile achieve ecological footprint new opportunities
for China, http://www.benningergroup.com/uploads/media/Carbon_Footprint_China_EN.pdf, accessed on
March 10, 2014.)
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151Carbon Footprint of Textile and Clothing Products
including emissions from fertilizers, chemicals, fuel, and electricity. The GHG emissions in three
cotton farming systems, among which one was an irrigated system and the other two were dryland
farming systems in Queensland, Australia were assessed. Estimation considering emissions from
transportation of farm inputs (farm machinery, agrochemicals, and fertilizers), production, packing
and storage, production, extraction, and use of electricity for irrigation, and N2O emissions from
soils due to N-fertilizer usage, revealed that GHG emission was lowest from dryland double skip
(1376kg CO2e/ha), slightly higher from dryland solid plant (1376kg CO2e/ha), and the highest from
irrigated cotton farming (4841kg CO2e/ha).28
Textile nishing is an important process for cotton textiles leading to signicant amount of
carbon footprint. CO2 emissions are caused directly by the energy consumers and indirectly by
the consumable such as lubricants and chemicals. The dissemination of CO2 emissions in a fully
continuous textile nishing process for cotton textiles shows that about 40% comes from washing
and steaming, 50% comes from drying, and 10% from the use of chemicals. In knitwear nish-
ing using the exhaust process, the largest part of emissions, that is, 60%, is caused by heating
of water.27 Table 7.5 provides details of energy consumption in cotton or cotton blend nishing
process.
TABLE 7.5
Energy Consumption in Cotton or Cotton Blend Finishing Process
Process/Consumer Primary Source of Energy Used CO2 Emissions
Singeing Gas Low
Washing/heating energy Steam Very high
Steaming/reaction processes Steam Moderate
Drying Gas/coal/steam Very high
Fabric transport Electricity Low
Air conditioning
technology/exhaust air
Electricity Low
Chemicals No date Low
Source: Strohle, J., Textile achieve ecological footprint new opportunities for China, http://www.
benningergroup.com/uploads/media/Carbon_Footprint_China_EN.pdf, accessed on March 10, 2014.
CO
2
drivers
type of energy carrier
Brown coal Stone coal Heavy oil Gas Woodchips
120%
100%
60%
80%
40%
20%
0%
FIGURE 7.8 CO2 emissions for different energy sources. (From Strohle, J., Textile achieve ecological
footprint new opportunities for China, http://www.benningergroup.com/uploads/media/Carbon_Footprint_
China_EN.pdf, accessed on March 10, 2014.)
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152 Handbook of Sustainable Apparel Production
7.5.1 carbon fooTprinT of coTTon fiber proDucTs
Studies reported that the highest CO2 emissions in case of cotton clothing (e.g., T-shirt) occur dur-
ing the usage phase of the garment. Also, signicant GHG emissions occur during the production
of raw materials.29 As shown in Figure 7.9, the least GHG-intensive processes in case of cotton
T-shirt life cycle are fabric and garment production processes besides product disposal stage. This
gure also reveals the rough equivalence between GHG emissions and energy use in the garment
life cycle. According to another study, CO2 emissions in different stages of cotton T-shirt life cycle
are presented in F igu re 7.10. It can be noticed that a major improvement in terms of GHG emissions
50
45
40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
Life-cycle GHG emissions of energy use (%)
Cotton fiber
Yarn
Fabric
India Germany
Dyeing
Garment
Transport
Washing (50 times
)
Drying (50 times
)
Disposal
GHGs Primary energy
FIGURE 7.9 Garment life cycle GHG emissions of cotton T-shirt. (From Strohle, J., Textile achieve eco-
logical footprint new opportunities for China, http://www.benningergroup.com/uploads/media/Carbon_
Footprint_China_EN.pdf, accessed on March 10, 2014.)
CO2 reduction from use of renewable energy in manufacturing
4.5
4
3.5
3
2.5
1.5
0.5
–0.5
Raw materials and
manufacturing (India
)
Screen printing (UK)
Transport
Packaging
Retail
Washing (25 times
)
Drying (25 times
)
Ironing (25 times)
Disposal
0
1
2
FIGURE 7.10 Garment life cycle GHG emissions of cotton T-shirt, showing amount of CO2 per stage. (From
Strohle, J., Textile achieve ecological footprint new opportunities for China, http://www.benningergroup.com/
uploads/media/Carbon_Footprint_China_EN.pdf, accessed on March 10, 2014.)
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153Carbon Footprint of Textile and Clothing Products
can be achieved through the use of renewable energy in production processes. Besides production of
raw materials and fabric, various processes responsible for GHG emissions are printing, transport,
packaging, retail, washing, drying, and ironing.30 According to this study also, use phase is the
major cause of GHG emissions, causing nearly 50% of the actual total.29
7.5.1.1 Carbon Footprint of White Long Shirt
Figure 7.11 shows the carbon footprint of white long shirt made of cotton. To produce these long
shirts, raw materials were cultivated in the United States and garments were made in Bangladesh
for German customers. The estimated carbon footprint of this cotton product during its life cycle
was 10.75kg CO2e.30
Carbon footprint due to cotton growing including ginning is up to 1.27kg CO2e. As shown in
Figure 7.12, almost half of the emissions are caused by direct and indirect N2O, which has a GWP
of 298 relative to CO2. Direct emissions of N2O depend on soil structure, the use of fertilizer, water,
temperature, etc. The manufacturing phase leads to an emission level of 3.0kg CO2e per functional
unit during shirt production. CO2 emissions in the production stage of the shirt are shown in Figure
7.13. Approximately 1/3 of the carbon emissions are caused by heating processes and 2/3 by elec-
tricity. CO2 emissions in the distribution processes are shown in Figure 7.14. During the distribution
phase, CO2e emission is 87kg, which is more than half resulting from returns by customers.
It was observed in this study that consumers can contribute signicantly to reduce the carbon
footprint of the products. Use of energy-efcient devices can signicantly reduce the carbon foot-
print during the use phase. Household devices with a better level of energy efciency may decrease
the carbon footprint in the use phase by one-third as compared to the household stock. Also, the
carbon footprint in the use phase is inuenced by the washing temperature and actual loading of
Disposal 0.25
kg, 2% Cotton
cultivation
1.27 kg, 12%
Manufactur
e
3.00 kg, 28%
Transports
0.29 kg, 3%
Distribution
0.87 kg, 8%
Catalogue
1.53 kg, 14%
Packaging
0.24 kg, 2%
Use phase
3.30 kg, 31%
FIGURE 7.11 Carbon footprint of cotton white long shirt during its life cycle. (From Jungmichel, N.,
The Carbon Footprint of Textiles, Systain Consulting, Berlin, Germany, 2010.)
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154 Handbook of Sustainable Apparel Production
CH4
2%
CO2
53%
N2O
45%
FIGURE 7.12 Different GHG emissions during cotton growing. (From Jungmichel, N., The Carbon
Footprint of Textiles, Systain Consulting, Berlin, Germany, 2010.)
1.2
1.02 kg 0.98 kg
0.12 kg
Spinning Knitting Dyeing RMG
0.88 kg
1
0.8
0.6
0.4
CO
2
eq. (kg)
0.2
0
FIGURE 7.13 CO2 emission in the production process of a shirt. (From Jungmichel, N., The Carbon
Footprint of Textiles, Systain Consulting, Berlin, Germany, 2010.)
Warehousin
g
24%
Delivery
61%
Return by
customer
2%
Second warehousing
11%
Second pick-up customer
2%
FIGURE 7.14 CO2eq. emissions during the distribution process. (From Jungmichel, N., The Carbon
Footprint of Textiles, Systain Consulting, Berlin, Germany, 2010.)
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155Carbon Footprint of Textile and Clothing Products
appliances. It was observed that a washing temperature of 40°C instead of 60°C could cut the car-
bon footprint of the use phase by 45% and 30°C instead of 40°C by 40%.30
7.5.1.2 Comparison of Carbon Footprint of Different Cotton Products
Studies also compared the carbon footprint of different cotton products and also with products made
with synthetic bers, as shown in Figure 7.15. The details of these products are provided in Table
7.6. The carbon footprint of the three products during their life cycle is presented in Figure 7.16.
It can be noticed from Figure 7.16 that the acrylic jacket has lower carbon footprint in the manu-
facturing and use phases as compared to the cotton products. However, disposal of acrylic good
leads to signicantly higher CO2 emissions than the cotton products. Among the cotton long shirt
and sweat jacket, the long shirt gives a lower carbon footprint in raw material, manufacturing, and
disposal phases, but a higher carbon footprint in the distribution phase.
7.5.2 carbon fooTprinT of Wool fiber anD proDucTs
According to studies, the energy required for wool production is 38 MJ/kg. New Zealand Merino
study estimated an energy usage of 46 MJ/kg to produce wool top, half of which is used in the
farm and CO2 emission for production of wool staples is 2.2kg CO2/kg (considering 50 g CO2/MJ
of energ y).31 The energy consumption and CO2 emission of wool ber are compared with other
(a) (b)(c)
FIGURE 7.15 Three different textile products: (a) cotton long shirt, (b) sweat jacket with hood, and
(c) jacket for kids. (From Jute Eco-label: Life cycle assessment of jute products, 2006, http://www.jute.
com:8080/c/document_library/get_le?uuid=e39c1527-75ed-47e9-9c88-c415ac11cf09&groupId=22165,
accessed on November 25, 2013.)
TABLE 7.6
Details of Three Different Products
White Long Shirt Sweat Jacket Jacket for Kids
100% cotton (USA) 100% cotton (Africa) 100% acrylic
Net weight—222 g Net weight—446 g Net weight—266 g
Cotton from the United States, production
in Bangladesh, offered by OTTO
Cotton from Benin, production in
Turkey, offered by BAUR
Acrylic from China, production in
Bangladesh, offered by OTTO
Source: Jungmichel, N., The Carbon Footprint of Textiles, Systain Consulting, Berlin, Germany, 2010.
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156 Handbook of Sustainable Apparel Production
textile bers in Table 7.7. It can be noticed that wool ber consumes lower energy and also leads to
lower carbon footprint than the other listed bers, except hemp bers, which have the lowest carbon
footprint.
7.5.3 carbon fooTprinT of JuTe fiber anD proDucTs
The emission of GHG of a jute ber yarn in different phases such as cultivation and retting phase,
manufacturing phase, and product disposal phase has been studied and listed in Table 7.8 for 684 tons
of jute yarn. This study considered the credits of jute product incineration for energy production to
replace fossil fuel utilization and took into account only 50% of CH4 emission considering capture
of the remaining 50% during jute product disposal through landll.33
It can be concluded from these results that the overall GHG emission effect in the cultivation
and retting phase is negative. This implies that the jute plantation process acts as a carbon absorber.
16.0
14.0
12.0
10.0
8.0
6.0
4.0
2.0
0.0
Product carbon footprint (kg CO
2
eq.)
Long shirt, white
Disposal Use phase Packaging
Transportation
Distribution
Raw materials
Catalogue
Manufacture
Sweat jacket
Acrylic children jacket
FIGURE 7.16 Carbon footprint of three different textile products during its life cycle. (From Jungmichel, N.,
The Carbon Footprint of Textiles, Systain Consulting, Berlin, Germany, 2010.)
TABLE 7.7
CO2 Emissions in kg/kg of Different Textile Fibers Based on Energy Consumption
(kW h/kg Fiber)
Fiber Type Energy Consumption kW h/kg Fiber CO2 Emissions in kg/kg Fiber
Nylon 69 37
Acrylic 49 26
Polyester 35 19
Polypropylene 32 17
Viscose 28 15
Cotton 15 8
Wool 13 7
Hemp 5 3
Source: http://www.metrocon.info/images/uploads/SWhittaker-METROCON12.pdf, accessed on March 11, 2014.
Downloaded by [Subramani Pichandi] at 03:12 01 June 2015
157Carbon Footprint of Textile and Clothing Products
Even though the emission of CH4 during the retting process contributes to the GHG impact, this
effect is balanced by the carbon sequestration of jute plants during their farming. The manufac-
turing phase contributes to the GHG effect due to CO2 emissions resulting from the use of fossil
fuel, electricity, and transportation. It can be also noted that the disposal of jute products into an
unmanaged landll leads to the GHG effect due to CH4 emission. Conversely, this impact reduced
considerably when the disposal of the jute product is done through incineration to produce energy
for replacement of fossil fuel–based energy.33
7.5.4 carbon fooTprinT of linen fiber proDucTs
The linen shirt studied in this research was manufactured in China for use in France. It can
be noticed from Figure 7.17 that primary energy is not always a good representation for GHG
emissions depending on the type of energy source used. Figure 7.18 illustrates the relative GHG
TABLE 7.8
Impact of GHG Effect of Jute Fiber at a Different Phase of the Life Cycle
Phase IPCC–GHG Effect (Direct 100 Years) Value Unit
Cultivation and retting phase of nal raw jute CO2, CO2 equivalent CH4−4,502,370 g·eq. CO2
Manufacturing phase CO2, CO2 equivalent CH4485.71 g·eq. CO2
Disposal of product through incineration CO2, CO2 equivalent CH4−6.895 g·eq. CO2
Disposal of product through landll CO2, CO2 equivalent CH414.124 g·eq. CO2
Source: Jute Eco-label: Life cycle assessment of jute products, 2006, http://www.jute.com:8080/c/document_library/get_
le?uuid=e39c1527-75ed-47e9-9c88-c415ac11cf09&groupId= 22165, accessed on November 25, 2013.
GHGs
Primary energy
Cultivation (France) Manufacturing
(China)
Use (France,100
washes)
End of life
Life-cycle GHG emissions of energy use (%)
50
40
90
30
80
20
70
10
60
0
FIGURE 7.17 Garment life cycle GHG emissions of linen shirt. (From Strohle, J., Textile achieve ecological
footprint new opportunities for China, http://www.benningergroup.com/uploads/media/Carbon_Footprint_
China_EN.pdf, accessed on March 10, 2014.)
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158 Handbook of Sustainable Apparel Production
emissions produced by a linen shirt during its manufacturing process. Since the linen shirt was
manufactured in China, where coal-red power plants produce most of the used electricity, the
amount of GHG emissions is high. On the contrary, during its use in France, a low amount of GHG
is emitted due to the use of nuclear power as the energy source.29 Higher energy is necessary in
the use phase of the linen shirt due to the high-energy requirement to iron the linen shirt. It can
also be noticed that cultivation of raw material (ax) leads to low amount of energy use and GHG
emissions.29
7.6 CARBON FOOTPRINT OF SYNTHETIC FIBERS AND THEIR PRODUCTS
In the case of synthetic ber, the key factor related to carbon footprint is that the bers are produced
from fossil fuels. The extraction of oil from the earth and the production of synthetic polymers
require a high amount of energy and therefore emit a much higher amount of CO2 as compared to
natural bers (refer to Table 7.4).
Acrylic ber requires 30% more energy during its production than polyester and for nylon it is
even higher. Not only the quantity of GHG emissions is of prime concern for synthetic bers, but
also the type of GHGs produced is important. Nylon, for example, emits N2O, which is 300 times
more damaging than CO2 and because of its long life, it can reach and diminish the layer of strato-
spheric ozone.25,26 Moreover, synthetic bers do not decompose and in landlls they release heavy
metals and other additives into the soil and groundwater. Recycling needs expensive separation,
while burning produces pollutants. In the case of HDPE, 3 tons of CO2 is emitted due to burning of
1 ton of material.25,26
7.6.1 carbon fooTprinT of pp shoppinG baGs
Nonwoven shopping bags, mostly made of polypropylene ber, are popular and are commonly used
as a reusable item. The process of manufacturing polypropylene (PP) bags starts from ber produc-
tion followed by spun bonding and different steps of bag manufacturing such as cutting, screen
printing, sewing, and packaging. Shopping bags are made using two different methods, namely,
the sewing process (A), that is, joining two sides of the bags by stitching, and thermal bonding (B),
Plastic bags
0
500
1000
1500
2500
2000
Paper bags Nonwoven bags Woven bags
GWP (kg CO2 eq.) in 20 years GWP (kg CO2 eq.) in 100 years
GWP (kg CO2 eq.) in 500 years
FIGURE 7.18 Carbon footprint results without usage and disposal option in China and Hong Kong. (From
Muthu, S.S. et al., Atmos. Environ., 45, 469, 2011.)
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159Carbon Footprint of Textile and Clothing Products
that is, joining two sides of the bags through heat application.34 The results of the carbon footprint
evaluated for these two types of shopping bags through the IPCC 2007 GWP V 1.1 method for 100-
and 20-year time periods are presented in Table 7.9. It was observed that the shopping bag produced
through the sewing process had a lower carbon footprint as compared to the one produced through
the thermal bonding process.
Studies also compared the carbon footprint of different types of shopping bags used in China,
Hong Kong, and India such as plastic, paper, nonwoven (PP), and woven cotton bags. GHG emis-
sions of these shopping bags are listed in Tables 7.10 an d 7.11.1
The results of life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) performed using the IPCC 2007 method to
evaluate the carbon footprint of these shopping bags (without considering usage and disposal) in
TABLE 7.11
Life Cycle Inventory Data of Plastic, Paper, Nonwoven, and Woven Bags in India
Alternative Weight/Bag (g) Bags/Year
Material
Consumption
GHG Emissions
(CO2 eq.)
Primary
Energy (MJ)
Plastic bag 6 150 900 g 1.74 kg 60
Paper bag 42.6 150 6.39 kg 3.41 kg 210
PP ber nonwoven bag 65.6 1.5 98.4 g 708 g 16.73
Woven cotton bag 125.4 1.3 376.2 g 831 g 52.74
Source: Muthu, S.S. et al., Atmos. Environ., 45, 469, 2011.
TABLE 7.10
Life Cycle Inventory Data of Plastic, Paper, Nonwoven, and Woven Bags in China
and Hong Kong
Alternative Weight/Bag (g) Bags/Year
Material
Consumption
GHG Emissions
(CO2 eq.) (kg)
Primary
Energy (MJ)
Plastic bag 6 1095 6.57 kg 12.8 442.2
Paper bag 42.6 1095 46.65 kg 24.8 1518.3
PP ber nonwoven bag 65.6 10.95 718. 32 g 5.17 122.2
Woven cotton bag 125.4 21.9 2.75 kg 6.06 385
Source: Muthu, S.S. et al., Atmos. Environ., 45, 469, 2011.
TABLE 7.9
GWP Potentials
Impact Category, Unit A B
IPCC GWP 100 a, kg CO2 eq. 60.7 86.3
IPCC GWP 20 a, kg CO2 eq. 62.5 88.6
Source: Muthu, S.S. et al., Fibers Text. Eur., 3(92), 12, 2012.
100 a, 100years; 20 a, 20years.
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160 Handbook of Sustainable Apparel Production
terms of GWP of 20years, 100, and 500years are presented in Figures 7.18 and 7.19. The results
show that nonwoven bags made of PP performed better than other bags, followed by woven cot-
ton bags. Paper and plastic bags have very high GWP for 20, 100, and 500years compared to
nonwoven (PP) and cotton woven bags. It can be seen that nonwoven bags consume lesser energy
and materials and also emit a lower amount of GHG as compared to other shopping bags used in
China, Hong Kong, and India.1
7.6.2 carbon fooTprinT of proDucTs proDuceD from reGeneraTeD fibers
The carbon footprint of products produced from the most commonly regenerated cellulosic ber,
that is, viscose rayon, has also been reported in the literature. One of such studies reported GHG
emissions due to the production of Pashmina shawl in India, including the staple ber production
stage up to the manufacturing of this product.35 Both direct and indirect GHG emissions were
considered for carbon footprint evaluation. The direct GHG emissions included the emissions from
the production site such as from electricity consumption and fuel combustion. On the other hand,
indirect GHG emissions included the emissions from ber production, that is, the embodied energy
of ber produced, transportation of raw materials and fuel to the production place, and transporta-
tion of Pashmina shawl from the production place to the warehouse, that is, the transportation of
carbon footprint.35 Potential sources of CO2 for the manufacturing of this product, as identied in
this study, were rayon staple ber production (embodied carbon footprint), transportation of raw
material (rayon staple ber) and fuel (diesel/petrol) to the production site, transportation of pro-
duced Pashmina shawl from the production site to the warehouse (transportation carbon footprint),
etc. Among these, manufacturing of rayon staple ber (embodied carbon footprint) and production
of Pashmina shawl were found to be the main sources of carbon footprint. Approximately 25% of
carbon emissions in the total production process of one Pashmina shawl come from the dyeing and
packing unit, whereas 57% come from the spinning and weaving units. Emissions from transporta-
tion and packing of Pashmina shawl were lesser. Table 7.12 provides the emission inventory data for
shawl production.35
350
300
250
200
150
100
50
0Plastic bags
GWP (kg CO2 eq.) in 20 years GWP (kg CO2 eq.) in 100 years
GWP(kg CO2 eq.) in 500 years
Paper bags Nonwoven bags Woven bags
FIGURE 7.19 Carbon footprint results without usage and disposal option in India. (From Muthu, S.S. et al.,
Atmos. Environ., 45, 469, 2011.)
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161Carbon Footprint of Textile and Clothing Products
7.7 MODERN STRATEGIES TO REDUCE CARBON
FOOTPRINT OF TEXTILE PROCESSING
Carbon footprint reduction is an important issue for all human beings in order to protect our planet
for our future generations. Our commitments toward future compel us to create a green and sustain-
able environment. With the growth of civilization, textiles become much more than a primary need
for individuals. The per capita consumption of clothing increases exponentially with the improved
living standard and fashion consciousness of the people.20 As discussed in the previous sections,
textile products create carbon footprint in each phase of their life cycle. The complicated supply
chain of textile industry leads to signicant amount of carbon footprint in its each segment. With a
huge production volume, it is found to be one of the major sources of emissions of GHG globally.36,37
In 2008, global textile production was estimated at 60 billion kg of fabric. The energy and water
needed to produce that amount of fabric are 1074 billion kW h of electricity or 132 million metric
tons of coal and 6–9 trillion liters of water.37
Looking into this huge consumption of energy and water, strategies have been initiated to reduce
carbon footprints in textile processing. More and more energy-efcient processes are being used.
The intermediate products and processes are improved with new innovations for lower carbon foot-
prints. All the processing steps starting from harvesting to packing, transporting, usage, and dis-
posal add carbon footprint to textiles.1
It is reported that other synthetic ber production is more energy intensive.38 Thus, the rst cor-
rective measure taken to reduce the carbon footprint is the use of natural bers. Natural bers have
lower carbon footprint than the synthetic ones. Use of organic bers further reduces the carbon
footprint. The less energy-intensive processes create less carbon footprint. Natural bers have other
advantages like biodegradability and sequestering carbon from atmosphere.39 DuPont came up with
a ber called Sorona having much lower carbon emission as compared to other synthetic bers.
Unlike most of the synthetic bers, it is an agricultural product and not petrochemical derived.
Sorona has high renewable ingredients content.
Energy- and water-intensive textile processing is the major contributor as far as carbon footprint
is concerned. Strategies have been proposed to reduce the carbon footprint of textile processing. Low
energy- and water-intensive processes and products are now commercially available in the market.
Some of the initiatives are as follows: reduction of water consumption during pretreatment, dyeing,
washing, and nishing is achieved through the use of low and ultralow liquor ratio machines. Less
water leads to less energy for heating at different processing steps and also less efuent treatment
load. A study carried out by Benninger shows that the reduction and reuse of water and energy is
the key parameter to reduce carbon footprint in the textile industries.27 The knitwear industries use
a soft ow machine during processing that consumes high water and energy. Continuous dyeing and
TABLE 7.12
Emission Inventory for Pashmina Shawl Production
Emission Inventory kg CO2/Pashmina Shawl
Fiber 1.6
Transportation 0.063
Manufacturing 0.8164
Chemicals 0.06
Packing 0.02
Total 2.5594
Source: Shawl, P., Product carbon footprint, http://www.ecotechenergy.in/pdf/
carbon-footprint-pashmina-shawl.pdf, accessed on March 11, 2014.
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162 Handbook of Sustainable Apparel Production
nishing machines for knitwear are the recent developments that reduce the water and energy usage
to a signicant level. A number of eco-efcient solutions have been introduced into the market that
are environmentally friendly and contribute to saving of resources. The processing time and water
consumption can be reduced with these chemicals as compared to the conventional systems. A one-
step process of textile dyeing and nishing, combining the dyeing, washing, and nishing steps into
one step, can reduce the processing time and energy cost. Consumption of nonrenewable energy can
be reduced by preheating of water through solar energy or heat exchanger in waste water line. The
heat loss is minimized by adequate insulation of processing machines and appropriate heat recovery
systems. The caustic and water recovery plants reuse the water and alkali to a great extent and thus
reduce the carbon load in processing.
The combined approach for processing helps in signicant reduction of carbon footprint.
Combined singing–desizing, desizing–scouring–bleaching, one bath dyeing of polyester/cotton
blends, etc., reduce the number of textile processing stages and thereby reduce consumption of
water and energy. Since the drying process takes a high amount of energy, all preparatory processes
are carried out without drying, except the last stage where fabrics ready for dyeing or nishing are
prepared. Continuous dyeing processes like cold pad batch (CPB) and thermosol require less water
for dyeing. After dyeing, the washing process also has been improved with less number of wash
chambers and wash liquor. The whole process saves water and energy. Continuous processing of
knits is still under development. New processing techniques like waterless dyeing, CO2 dyeing,
foam dyeing, nishing, and coating are gradually gaining their acceptance in industries. A combi-
nation of water/air is tried successfully for dyeing that reduces the water consumption during dye-
ing. The cost associated with these processes is also reducing in recent years. Gaston Systems, USA,
has developed a foam nishing machine that saves lots of water. To reduce carbon footprint, entire
reprocessing of textile materials, which not only burdens the processing cost but also increases
GHG emissions, needs to be avoided. Hence, right rst time (RFT) and right every time (RET)
dyeing performances are essential for reduction in carbon footprint of textile processing. Thus,
advanced software to improve the lab to bulk conversion ratio are utilized by many industries.
Enzyme-based processing like desizing, scouring, bleach neutralizing, bio-softening, and post-
dyeing wash-off is in the market. Enzyme suppliers are offering specialized products for combined
processes to reduce the number of processing steps. These enzymes replace harsh chemicals used
to remove impurities from the ber or fabric. Their use reduces energy costs and water consump-
tion and also improves the feel of the fabric. Cationic cotton is successfully utilized for salt-free
dyeing with reactive and direct dyes. High xation reactive dyes are useful for less carbon foot-
prints. These dyes require reduced salt for high exhaustion. In the printing area, digital inkjet
printings and low-temperature curing pigment printings are commercially available.17 Huntsman
has developed inks from the dyes to use in a digital printer directly for printing on fabrics. This
digital printing process signicantly reduces the environmental footprint as no water, salt, or other
chemicals are required.
Apart from these technological advances, two signicant strategies have been adopted for reduc-
tion in carbon footprints in the textile sector, namely, reuse and recycle of textiles. The recycle is
effective only when the carbon loading to recycle is less than the disposal. Reuse of textile waste
can be done in different ways. Some common practices are releasing clothes into the marketplace
through secondhand shops and donating to some charity organizations or informally among family
members. Reports indicate that large amounts of secondhand clothing are dispatched abroad for
selling on the global market in Eastern Europe or Africa.40 According to statistics, 26,000 tons of
used garments and shoes were collected by charity organizations in Sweden during 2008 as dona-
tions to Africa and Eastern Europe.41
There are many ways to reduce the carbon footprint throughout the entire life cycle of textile
products, and one of the promising ways to minimize the carbon footprint is to recycle the process
waste instead of disposing at landll and also to recycle the textile products at the end of life. Reuse
of textile products has environmental benets. However, the amount of energy saved and avoided
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163Carbon Footprint of Textile and Clothing Products
emissions by applying reuse of discarded textiles, the amount of energy usage, and GHG emissions
during collection, sorting, and reselling of the used clothes should be assessed and compared with
the energy demand and emissions of manufacturing new products.42 In the present decade, due to
the alarming environmental impacts and other reasons such as rewards in terms of monetary ben-
ets given to people when they return the product for recycling, governmental policies, etc., people
have started supporting recycling activities as compared to the last decade.23 Recycling is one of
the proven and promising ways of reducing carbon footprint.23 There are many strategies to recycle
textile products, which can reduce carbon footprint. The use of life cycle analysis software is helpful
for estimating the recycling potential of textile products.9
It is evident from the studies that the textile sector is highly energy intensive. The bulk of the
carbon footprint of the textile industry is actually due to the usage of energy, and hence all strate-
gies are directed toward using less energy, reuse of waste energy, and use of renewable sources of
energy as far as possible.43 During ber production stage, more focus is on the use of organic natural
bers for their less carbon footprint as compared to synthetic ones.26 Though the crop cultivation
stage involves CO2 emission for natural bers, the production of synthetic bers is a higher energy-
intensive process and results in high CO2 emission. Considering the carbon footprint addition due to
transportation of raw materials and nished products,1 composite textile mills and organic farming
may be a good option for the future.
7.8 CONCLUSIONS
Carbon footprint is the measurement of the amount of GHG produced through burning of fossil
fuels for electricity, heating, transportation, etc., and it is expressed in terms of tons or kg CO2
equivalent. Various GHGs are CO2, CH4, N2O, and CFC, and their emissions may result in serious
problems such as heat waves and other extreme events (cyclones oods, storms, wildres), changes
in patterns of infectious disease, reduced food yields and freshwater supplies, impaired functioning
of ecosystems, displacement of vulnerable populations, and loss of livelihoods. The textile industry
is identied as one of the largest producers of GHG all over the world and has been reported to gen-
erate the highest GHG emission per unit of material. Electrical energy is one of the major energy
consumption sectors in the textile industry, and electrical energy is spent for driving machinery,
cooling, temperature control, lighting, and ofce equipment. Among the various textile industries,
the spinning industry takes the major share of electricity with 41%, followed by weaving and wet
processing units. The emission of CO2 in case of natural ber production occurs during preparation,
planting, eld operations (weed control, mechanical irrigation, pest control, and fertilizers), harvest-
ing, and yields. However, energy used and CO2 emitted to manufacture 1 ton of natural ber are
much lower as compared to synthetics bers. In case of cotton textiles, 50% of CO2 emissions occur
during ber production, manufacture, trade, and transport and the remaining 50% are caused by
daily usage, that is, washing and drying. Textile nishing is an important process for cotton textiles
leading to signicant amount of carbon footprint resulted from CO2 emissions of 40% from washing
and steaming, 50% from drying, and 10% from the use of chemicals. Production of wool ber uses
lower energy and has lower carbon footprint as compared to cotton bers. The plantation process
of jute bers acts as a carbon absorber, and although emission of CH4 during the retting process
contributes to the GHG impact, this effect is balanced by the carbon sequestration of jute plants
during their farming. Cultivation of linen bers also results in very less GHG emissions. However,
higher energy is necessary in the use phase of linen products due to high energy requirements to
wash, dry, and iron the linen materials. In case of synthetic bers, extraction of oil from earth as
well as production of synthetic polymers require high amount of energy and therefore emit much
higher amount of CO2 as compared to natural bers. Among the synthetic bers, nylon and acrylic
leads to higher carbon footprint than polyester bers. Potential sources of CO2 emissions for the
production of viscose rayon ber products are rayon staple ber production (embodied carbon foot-
print), transportation of raw material (rayon staple ber) and fuel (diesel/petrol) to the production
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164 Handbook of Sustainable Apparel Production
site, transportation of product from the production site to the warehouse (transportation carbon
footprint), etc., and among these, manufacturing of rayon staple ber (embodied carbon footprint)
and products is main source of carbon footprint. In recent times, various modern strategies and
processes are being practiced to reduce the carbon footprint of textile industries such as promoting
more use of natural bers; reduction of water consumption during pretreatment, dyeing, washing,
and nishing through the use of low and ultralow liquor ratio machines; combining dyeing, wash-
ing, and nishing steps into one step; use of continuous dyeing processes like CPB and thermosol;
new processing techniques like waterless dyeing, CO2 dyeing, foam dyeing, nishing and coating;
enzyme-based processing like desizing, scouring, bleach neutralizing, bio-softening, and postdye-
ing wash-off; and reuse and recycle of textile goods.
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The textile industry is one of the most complicated manufacturing industries because it is a fragmented and heterogeneous sector dominated by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Energy is one of the main cost factors in the textile industry. Especially in times of high energy price volatility, improving energy efficiency should be a primary concern for textile plants. There are various energy-efficiency opportunities that exist in every textile plant, many of which are cost-effective. However, even cost-effective options often are not implemented in textile plants mostly because of limited information on how to implement energy-efficiency measures, especially given the fact that a majority of textile plants are categorized as SMEs and hence they have limited resources to acquire this information. Know-how on energy-efficiency technologies and practices should, therefore, be prepared and disseminated to textile plants. This guidebook provides information on energy-efficiency technologies and measures applicable to the textile industry. The guidebook includes case studies from textile plants around the world and includes energy savings and cost information when available. First, the guidebook gives a brief overview of the textile industry around the world, with an explanation of major textile processes. An analysis of the type and the share of energy used in different textile processes is also included in the guidebook. Subsequently, energy-efficiency improvement opportunities available within some of the major textile sub-sectors are given with a brief explanation of each measure. The conclusion includes a short section dedicated to highlighting a few emerging technologies in the textile industry as well as the potential for the use of renewable energy in the textile industry.