Depending on the process, several environmental aspects play an important role in the textile industry.
Water is an essential medium in the textile finishing sector. Special attention has to be paid to the supply of process water (quantity/quality) and to the discharge/treatment of wastewater.
Pre-treatment processes (such as bleaching, desizing, boiling, washing...) generate wastewater with an important organic load. This load or contamination is mainly caused by products that have been applied to the textile during previous treatments (sizing agents, spin finishes, pesticides, and natural contamination of animal and vegetable fibres). In textile dyeing / printing companies, the wastewater's colour is an additional problem. This striking visual contamination may only be partly removed through conventional biological treatment.
The consecutive process steps in textile production generate solid waste flows, contaminated or not by chemicals (coatings, finishing agents...) or blends of several raw materials. It is getting more and more important to prevent the creation of textile waste and to improve the quality allowing useful applications.
Other environmental issues also receive our special attention: emissions, odour, use of environmental harmful substances, environmental monitoring...
Energy also represents an important environmental aspect. Whereas mechanical processes (such as spinning, weaving, tufting, extrusion) are mainly consuming electrical energy, dyeing and textile finishing are rather thermal energy consuming processes. From an "energy" point of view, dyeing and finishing may be seen as the repetitive wetting and drying of textiles. Especially the drying processes between the different finishing steps are consuming much energy. Over the past few years, the environmental aspects of energy have become more and more important since by reducing energy consumption one also reduces the emission of CO2.
Because of the increasing importance of environment-friendly production, Centexbel offers the necessary support to companies by initiating and programming relevant projects, by monitoring the environmental legislation, by providing training courses and by assisting companies in the event of specific problems.
In the framework of the European project "exBess", a number of tools have been developed for small medium-sized companies to improve their energy-efficiency.
The most interesting tools are:
- The self assessment checklist gives you the actual level of your energy management just by answering 7 questions
- The outcomes of the business case result in an overview of essential basic company data and indicators and identification of other influences defining the company decisions. These can be used to present the top management the importance of energy management.
- Measure lists can be a useful tool for a company that is investigating the energy saving options in conjunction with the results of an energy audit. Measure lists can be separated into two distinct categories: horizontal measure lists and industry-specific measure lists. Horizontal measure lists refer to measures that can be taken in any industry, whilst industry-specific measure lists refer to measures that can be taken in specific industries.
- an energy audit data collection sheet
The pilot report of the exBess project (main report for public) is on the downloadsection of the exbess homepage