Water consumption by denim fabric makers has fallen dramatically over the last few years thanks to adoption of the latest technologies in production, said machine suppliers and producers yesterday.
Previously, the denim fabric makers in Bangladesh used 270 litres of water for washing a kilogramme of denim fabrics, for which the ground water level in Dhaka and its adjacent areas has been depleting at three metres every year.
The global standard for washing a kilogramme of denim fabrics is 70 litres.
Now, some of the companies in Bangladesh can produce a kilogramme of denim fabrics with only 15 to 16 litres of water on an average, said Jordi Juani, director for the Asia Division of Jeanologia, a Spanish garment finishing machinery manufacturer.
Such low levels of water consumption were enabled by Jeanologia's state-of-the-art technology, which not only cuts down on water consumption but also the time needed. “We are replacing the traditional stone wash method that requires a lot of water.”
“But the number of such companies is still low,” he said from his stall at the eighth edition of the Bangladesh Denim Expo at the International Convention City Bashundhara in Dhaka yesterday. Jeanologia supplies the technologies and also provides consultation to denim fabric makers of about 150 factories out of the 2,000 that manufacture denim.
Regarding the denim and garment business in Bangladesh, Oguz Aksoy, assistant sales manager of Turkish denim brand Denimco said, “The industry here is booming.”
“In a year I sell three million yards of denim fabrics in Bangladesh at a cost of $2.60 and $3.30 a yard. Four years ago, the sale was almost zero,” he added.
MS Hasan, director of Amber Denim, which produces 3.5 million yards of denim fabric a month, said his company could reduce water consumption during washing of denim fabrics by 50 percent.
Now, Amber uses only 14 litres of water for washing a kilogramme of denim fabrics, down from 45 litres a year ago.
“We are getting encouraging response from our buyers for the reduction in water consumption,” he added.
Bangladesh is no more a basic garment production destination, but also a value-added apparel sourcing hub, said a major Spanish buyer asking not to be named.
Nearly 50 percent of Bangladesh's total exported apparel is value-added products for upscale customers, he added.
Top officials from globally renowned retailers like H&M, C&A, JC Penney, Tesco, Inditex, Li & Fung, and New Look participated in the two-day exhibition that will end today.
A total of 17 local and 44 foreign companies from countries like China, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Spain, Turkey, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and the US are displaying their products at the fair.
“The cumulative increase in visitors in each edition signifies the country's strong position in the global denim scene,” said Mostafiz Uddin, founder and chief executive of Bangladesh Denim Expo.