The industrial water footprint of zippers

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Industrial production of apparel consumes large quantity of freshwater and discharges effluents that intensify the problem of freshwater shortage and water pollution. The industrial water footprint (IWF) of a piece of apparel includes the water footprint (WF) of the fabric, apparel accessories (e.g. zipper, fastener, sewing thread) and industrial production processes. The objective of this paper is to carry out a pilot study on IWF accounting for three kinds of typical zipper (i.e. metal zipper, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) zipper and polyoxymethylene copolymer (Co-POM) zipper) that are commonly used for apparel production. The results reveal that product output exerts a remarkable influence on zipper's average IWF. Metal zipper has the largest IWF and followed by Co-POM zipper and PET zipper. Painting, dyeing and primary processing are the top three water-consuming processes and contribute about 90% of the zipper's IWF. Painting consumes the largest amount of freshwater among all processes and occupies more than 50% of the zipper's IWF. In addition, the grey water footprint (WFgrey) provides the greatest contribution, more than 80%, to the zipper's IWF. Based on these results, this paper also provides several strategies aimed at water economization and pollution reduction during industrial production of zipper.

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