The entire denim creation process, from weaving the fabric to dyeing and laundering it, is now required by the European Union to both minimize and prevent waste and use “unavoidable waste” as a resource. The new directives have gotten some Italian denim factories working pretty creatively.
Martelli Lavorazioni Tessili SpA, which specializes in dyeing and laundering new denim, sends off their excess pumice and clay mud, both of which accumulate during the denim purification process. Once they’re properly treated, the materials are used in agriculture and cement factories.
At the denim production company Tessitura di Robecchetto Candiani SpA, the leftover fiber from cleaning the cotton, called cascame, is sent off to be turned into rags and industrial cleaning products. Meanwhile, more excess thread is produced when denim is dyed indigo; to make use of this extra, the company recycles it by mixing it in with new cotton, creating a distinct blue-gray denim. The firm’s manager notes the unique color actually holds a pretty specific appeal for its vintage look.
As Italy takes on a more Northern European approach to across-the-board recycling and efficient waste management, let’s hope American denim factories adopt some of these innovative reduce-reuse-recycle production practices, too.