Textile factories can use large amounts of energy and water in the manufacturing process.
We run programmes in partnership with other retailers, environmental experts, and organisations like Greenpeace, to help our suppliers improve their environmental impact, conserve natural resources, and replace certain chemicals with alternatives.
Our Cleaner Production programmes, which started in 2011, provides training to suppliers in Bangladesh and China on how to make improvements to their washing, dyeing and printing operations. The training helps them to reduce the water, chemicals and energy they use and ensure that waste water is treated properly.
In addition we are working to phase out certain chemicals and replace them with alternatives.
You can read about our work here.
An Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) is used by factories to treat their wastewater and remove any chemicals or dyes that have been used in the manufacturing process. Whilst there are many different types of ETPs, here you can see an example of a typical ETP system.
Wastewater that has been used inside the factory to help dye and wash the clothes flows through a large screen that catches dirt and separates it from the water.
The wastewater then flows into a tank where a coagulant (a thickening agent) is added to help separate the water from smaller particles of dirt and dust.
Air is used to mix the water and cool its temperature. A highly alkaline liquid is then added to increase the pH levels to around 11.
pH is the measure of acidity in water and other liquids.
The water then flows into another tank to further separate the sludge from the water. The pH is now adjusted again to between pH6 and 9.
The treated wastewater will sometimes be re-used within the factory. Sometimes it is sent on to a centralised ETP (CETP), often managed by the local government. Here, the wastewater will go through further treatment before being discharged into local waterways or the ocean.