Sustainability Outlook – The rocky path to a greener spinning industry (textile sector)

2022-11-29

Missing focus on environmental impact:

Spinning is a vital operation process in the textile sector. The fashion industry is highly dependend on the yarn manufacturers and the yarn export of spinning mills. Recently, intensified by the worldwide crysis and rising energy and oil prices, the perspective of a more environmentally friendly production reaffirms itself. Both, the retailer demand and the demand of the government points towards more sustainablê ways of production. In the upcoming years, it will not only be a choice to make. Companies will also be forced to take necessary steps. The ones who do not comply, will certainly fall behind. The possibility, that this leads to further extrusion of some companies in the market even after the crysis remains very high.

The restructuring of production processes does take time. That is why some companies start early with the implementation of sustainable processes. However, the textile industry is still one that laggs behind, needs urgent modernization and a stronger focus on clean production. The energy and water consumption is way above a tolerable level even today. Eco-materials, recycled fibers and extension of the product lifecycle is going to become more important than ever. That is why this article gives the reader some insight on the environmental causes and effects in the industry and how a company can contribute to cleaner prodcution and sustainability through innovation and the preservence of valuable ressources.

 

The curse of the profit factor:

The process of spinning consumes great amounts of energy and financial investments. Compared to different industries, spinning mills often need to settle for a net profit of around 5% on their investment. Infact, the export of yarns over the past years and the globalization has reduced the profatibility of spinning processes even further. This profitability is under constant reassesment, as it is highly dependend on the yarn sourcing prices on the market.

This circumstance of competitiveness forces the spinning mills to produce with only average yarn quality, run higher speed and save costs whereever they can to reach their net profit target. The truth is, spinning mills urgently need to save money in operative processes, but they actually do not focus yet on their energy consumption and the waste they produce because there is no time or money for it. The result is a mass production industry with lower average quality because the consument does not pay the price on high quality textiles anymore. One could argue that the solution is in bringing back a demand for high quality, for environmentally friendly sourcing, reused textiles and charge a reasonable price for “green textiles” which allows the spinning mills to have more time and profit, to actually tackle these issues for themselves and the world. And that is exactly the idea which slowly but steadily reaches the consument and the industries. For a sustainable future, everyone hast to pay a price. And for a higher price, there must be a higher quality, better sustainability values and the demand to stick to these values. But the price, in the end, is more than worth it. If the overall demand can change to a sustainable perspective, realize the importance of green production, then the industry will eventually follow to fulfill that demand.

Globalization and mass consumption:

Originally, sustainable business relied on the increase in profitability by producing quality tasks, consistency, and fast delivery. But in the recent years, the world has seen a massive increase in consumption. The average customer just wants everything: Inexpensive, high quality products, as fast as it is possible. While some growth in consumption is healthy, exagerated consumption is not. But what once seemed to be impossible, the industry made possible – at the cost of each and everyone. This behaviour is the root of what changed the industry for the worse. Because the industry just delivers, what is highly demanded by society and its consumers. That is the bad part. But the good part is, if the perspective of people can change, so will the industry. If the demand for sustainable and quality products can rise –  the demand for quantity and mass production needs to diminish. And the industry – those who will survive – stick to those values because they sell better. Only in the last few years have we seen a gradual change in the mind of the average consumer. The change of mind comes from the scientific research that has been going on for years about planet earth, the waste on this planet and the destruction we are causing to our environment. Actually, the environment does not care. It will still be there long after us. We do this to us, and the world we live in right now. We are a danger to ourselves and the children of the next generation. Recent years have made us receptive to those facts because we can witness them first hand in most parts of the world. We can see and feel the impact on mother nature. As environmental catastrophes happen on a regular and get more scary, it is obvious that we need to start caring. The change of mind in the majority of us is, what will drive a sustainable innovation and green technology. Modernization plays a big part in the process and new technologies should be focused on creating more sustainable processes.

The growing gap between rich and poor

A big part of this ongoing disaster is the unequal distribution of wealth and the gap this creates in our population. Nowadays, the expenses of roughly 100 million people in industrially developed countries equal the consumption of more than one billion people in underdeveloped countries (only required living costs). In other words, the developed countries consume because they can and the underdeveloped countries need to provide, because they need to live. It would be naive to think that we can completely solve this problem in a world following the principles of capitalism. However, in the past years we can see a change in underdeveloped countries. Some show great economic growth and further development in all areas of their economy. Time will tell, which countries can rise and adopt higher standards for their population.

 

Technology to satisfy the demand for mass production

The ever rising consumer demand has driven the development of suitable production processes at any cost – and made it the biggest threat to mother nature. Industries have caused pollution, water shortage, damage of the ozone layer and displacement of nature. Along with other industries, the textile sector as well as many other sectors have contributed their part to the increase of environmental problems. Cleaning this mess up now, is certainly more costly than preventing it beforehand. Anyway, you can discuss the good and the bad but the developments made were also necessary to drive the evolution of the human race to this day and develop technologies we actually depend on. But in the recent years, we see a rising trend in awareness of the problems. Public opinion about a more healythy way of living and a greener environment has emerged. The sensitivity through education has risen in industrialized countries. The new era will be one to protect the environment from the harm we already did in order to have a brighter future.

 

The positive side of technology – breaking free from the cycle through innovation

Even though we have gone too far and made bad impacts on our surrounding, there is certainly hope. Innovation and technology brings new opportunities, to change production to a more carbon neutral and sustainable process. Inventions and technology makes it possible, to minimize the damage done to the world. Maybe one day, we will see technology that actively reverses pollution and only uses industry products that consume less energy, power and produce less pollution and waste. Until this time, we have to take care of recycling and product lifecycles. We have to take measurements to make our production processes more effective and less damaging. Therefore we need to reach out to the best options out there. Right now in transportation e-mobility is the next best promising thing. Maybe hydrogen fuel will be even better in the future. In spinning and especially in mills, spinners can switch to mechanical spinning units at the same cost as conventional spinning instead of wasting power and energy on suction systems or powered devices. That is what we focus on. Step by step, producing more environmentally friendly and saving on unnecessary pollution and costs. There are many more examples in every existing industry. At the end of the day, implementing a cleaner production is a choice to make.

 

Recommended course for spinning mills: Sustainability through “Mechanical Compact Spinning”

Inside spinning mills, what still falls short is the usage of recycled fibers. In the upcoming years, the textile market is changing from unsustainable mass production to a more sustainable use of recycled textiles and fibers. Customers, politics and regulators will require the spinners to spin more recycled textiles (seperated and collected with recycling and dosing machines) and give textiles a second and a third lifecycle. Spinners need to save energy and lower their CO2-emissions. The demand for units that are capable of spinning recycled fibers is rising. There will also be ways to track the fiber, where it was sourced and produced, to better inform the consumer and to force the companies to comply with certain regulations in the field. Those information will be important to the customer aswell as for the manufacturer and his processing line. At least in the world of spinning, turning to mechanical compact spinning is by far the greatest option available to be ready for the upcoming years and to reduce energy and emissions right now. We recommend to adopt to sustainable compact spinning and modernize to entirely mechanical spinning systems. There are a few partners out there, however, we are the right partner to modernize ring spinning frames and achieve these goals.

The question is, are you ready and open minded for change? Compact Spinning units can spin those fibers up to a very high standard. We know, because our unit is spinning them. And we save hundreds of worldwide customers a great amount of energy and CO2-emissions already. Let us be your go-to-partner for sustainable, efficient and inexpensive modernization of your machines and ring spinning frames. Let us grow together.


Nik Istrefi


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