Wednesday 19 December 2012

Carbon Footprint of Garments

Jürgen Ströhle of Benninger AG, Uzwil (Switzerland) said the carbon footprint of garments depends crucially on the country of manufacture.  

  • Brazil is best by far because most energy generation is from biomass.  India and China are worst because they use most coal.  
  • For fibres, PET appeared worst followed Asian viscose and US and Chinese cotton.  
  • Austrian viscose had the lowest carbon and water footprint, while US cotton had the highest water footprint.  
  • Studies of T-shirt finishing methods revealed that 100% viscose shirts had least impact, 100% cotton most, with 100% PET in between.  
  • For dress shirts, cotton was worst with Tencel and PET equally good.  
Asked if organic cotton would be better, Mr Ströhle thought it would make no difference to the finishing impact but would be better at the raw material stage.  On a cradle-grave basis, half the impact of a T shirt is at the production stage and half in washing/drying.

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