Global fashion retailer Gap, Inc. is taking on the issue of water waste in the fashion industry. Partnering with textile company Arvind Ltd, Gap will soon open a 18,000-square-foot plant in Ahmedabad, India that will be used, among other things, to study ways to reduce water waste in the textile manufacturing industry.
The plant, which is being called an “innovation center”, will have a lab space dedicated to developing better water management solutions, as well as classrooms and training spaces for educating other members of the apparel industry.
In addition to the plant, Gap and Arvind are teaming up to open a nearby water treatment facility that will reuse water from the plant instead of drawing it from the community’s limited supply of clean water. The new facility will use a reclaim system with Membrane Bio Reactor (MBR) technology to treat wastewater without the use of chemicals. Arvind’s existing denim mill uses 8 million liters of fresh water every day. With the new treatment facility, Arvind and Gap estimate that 3 billion liters of fresh water will be saved by the end of 2020.
In India, only about one-quarter of people have drinking water at home, and 70% of the country’s water has been identified by government research as being contaminated. Use of water sustainability technology is crucial to avoid worsening the water scarcity crisis.
As the supply of clean, fresh water becomes increasingly diminished, Gap and Arvind are making positive strides in an industry that uses 79 billion cubic meters of water annually in textile production alone. With its new plants, the team hopes to provide water conservation solutions that can be used throughout the apparel industry, and perhaps even beyond.
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