Water & Sustainability
More and more retailers are setting themselves the objective of ensuring that garments can now be machine washed at home rather than being professionally dry cleaned.
At a customer level, this may make sense at first, especially from a convenience point of view and also cost. Perhaps maybe retailers see less issues when a customer shrinks the garment at home or experiences dye run compared to when taken to a dry cleaners; who can say?
But what is the true cost of domestic washing in terms of machine washing at home? Especially when you consider the amount of water used to manufacture cotton.
The average consumer uses 3,800 litres of water EVERY day. That’s direct (cups of coffee and showers) and indirect use (the food we eat and the clothes we wear).
What’s perhaps surprising is the balance of direct and indirect:
• 3.8% of water footprint relates to home use
• 96.2% of water footprint relates to products being brought to market of which:
o 91.5% relates to agricultural products (Food and Fibre)
o 4.7% relates to industrial products
There is now a growing appetite to recycle as much water and heat as possible to reduce the water foot prints and their impacts.
In the meantime garment manufacturers can look to recommending sustainable aftercare on labels or online in the form of GreenEarth dry cleaning as well as the waterless washing machine available from Xeros.
Source: Hoekstra & Mekonnen (2012) The Water Footprint of Humanity, PNAS