Thirsty denim

An average human uses up to 120 litres of water a day. Especially drinking, showering and using the bathroom have an significant impact on our waterbill – usage and consumption of food are left out of this equation! But what happens to our mathematical formula, if we decide to wear our favorite jeans today and have our finely selected coffee for breakfast? Our waterwasteage increases around 11.140 litres. The number speaks for itself – even people that are bad in math should see this as a wake up call.

Cotton, a thirsty material

The world loves blue jeans, we’ve known that for a long time. Denim – the material, which our blue jeans dreams are made of – is mainly made of cotton. Who would’ve known? Unfortunately, cotton is extremely thirsty. Globally the cotton production consumes up to 256 cubic kilometer of water. Besides the cultivation and the watering, which uses up to 85% of all wasteage, the purifying of fiborus, the dying-process, the refining and the transportation of our favorite fashion piece make the waterwasteage rise even more. It is nearly impossible to imagine, that for every watered cottonplant a human could be nourished with 120 litres of fresh watre on a daily basis.

And like this wouldn’t be enough, cotton is increasingly cultivated in territories with semi-desert climate conditions, which means the waterwasteage rises even more. Arjen Hoekstra, professor oft he University Twente, concerned himself with this specific problem and established a „water-footprint“ that allows to calculate our waterconsumption. This virtual expenditure calculates the amount of water, which every single object contains. Besides steaks, jeans with their whopping 8.000 litres of waterwasteage per piece, are a more than thirsty soft good. The amount of water, which a pair of denim contains, equals 55 full bathtubs!

Denim Brands that save water

With Bridge&Tunnel we have consciously made the desicion to give already worn jeans a second life and compensate the waterwasteage, which is produced during the productionprocess, by giftin our denims with a longer lifespan. But which approach do brands represent, which produce their jeans conscious of our sensitive environment and the increasing waterwasteage? The jeans brand Mud for example, try to counteract by maintaining a special environmental philosophy: „Be kind to this world. Recycle your Jeans.“ They strive to reach a world without waste and have launched the concept of „circular jeans“. This means, after wearing out your pair of denims, you may send them back to Mud, where they will be shredded, mixed with organic cotton and remade into a new, fresh jeans. By this water is saved and waste is processed sensefully, that would’ve otherwise been lost during a standard jeans production. Mud’s concept is construed towards a smart consumption, repair and reuse of products. And on top of that their denims look fine as hell. Manufacturing cool jeans can also happen the ecoconscious way!

How we extend the lifespan of our jeans

And what can we do? In general it helps our environment, when we use textiles longer. The higher one products lifespan, the cheaper is it’s eco-balance. Likewise it is helpful, to pay attention to high product quality, like fair organic cotton. An alternative tot he everthirsty cotton could be linen and hemp. These two materials only use up to a quarter of water, than cotton does. Chemical fiber in contrary do save water, but are biologically hard to process and burden our environment concerning the disposal. And keep in mind: Saving water starts with small acts, like washing less often. A study shows, that americans wash their jeans after wearing them 2-3 times, during chinese people wash them after 3,9 times and french and english people wash them even more seldom. Our advice: wash your jeans as rarely as possible. Or just place them in the ice box for a bit – by this your denims gains back it’s old form, without even wasting a drop of water! You can find more maintenance tips for your jeans here.