Concerns about the handling of textile waste have risen in recent years all over the world. Textile demand growth is influenced not only by population growth, but also by economic and fashion cycles. The textile industry’s rapid fashion cycle has resulted in a high level of consumption and waste generation. This can cause a negative environmental impact since the textile and clothing industry is one of the most polluting industries. Textile manufacturing is a chemical-intensive process and requires a high volume of water throughout its operations. Wastewater and fiber wastes are the major wastes generated during the textile production process.

Consumption and growth of knit Industry in the last decade

Many companies in the world market manufacture knitted fabric. They include weft (circular) knitting and warp (flat) knitting in their manufacturing. The manufacturing done by all these companies can include fashion and apparel knitting, technical knitting and household knitting. The material used by them may include : cotton and synthetic yarns, pile yarns, elastomeric yarns, laces and some others. In recent times, these industries are using artificial intelligence to promote their production. Also, eco-friendly fabrics are in demand due to rising awareness of global warming and the necessity to protect the environment.

The knitted fabric market size was grown by 2.1% since 2014, it became $55.8 billions in 2018. In 2017, the global apparel industry size was $684.6 billion and grown to $758.7 billion in 2018. This includes highest demand of fashion and apparel segment due to high demand of clothing and accessories by young consumers and their high expenditure on it. It resulted in positive impact on knitted fabric industry in the period of 2014-2018.

Waste generated by Knitting Industry

The worldwide increasing demand in knitting fabrics also results in increasing the waste production and its environmental hazards. It causes reduction of clean water resources, increasing energy costs, increasing use of chemicals and many other drawbacks. The use of toxic chemicals leads to air pollution as well as water pollution. Companies producing knitted materials have to do packaging of final products, it leads to solid waste. Due to the higher demand, machines need more electric supply. The sound emerging from those machines can cause hearing problem to workers.

In this industry around 1500 types of chemicals are used including dyes, transferring agents, finishing agents, surfactants, softeners, auxiliaries etc. This causes 17-20% industrial water pollution. Only 70% toxic chemicals can be detected amongst them and 30% cannot be cleaned. Number of chemicals are released in air causing air pollution. Some chemicals can cause skin diseases through final products. In June, 2005, users were detected with skin allergies and it was expected to grow to 60% by 2020. Some organic pollutants are biodegradable and they consume oxygen while their degradation. Acidic, Basic and Metallic salts pollutants are inorganic so their chemical and biochemical interplay in water are different.

Water is used in each stage from processing to packaging. A small industry producing 8000kg/day also needs 1.6 million litres approximately. A 16% of this, is used for dying and half of it is used for printing. 200,000 litres of water is contaminated during conventional dying and finishing process per 1000 kg of fabric.

Along with chemicals and water, electricity is consumed on huge amount. This includes energy to heat, dry and operate the machines. This causes greenhouse gases emission and carbon footprints. According to the report, 18.8-23 MJ thermal energy and 0.45-0.55 kWh electric energy is required. Thermal energy is used in chemical treatment process, predominantly for heating water and drying textile material. Electric energy is used for spinning and weaving processes.

Another important thing in production is packaging and transportation of raw material as well as final products. Today many products of packaging are made from petroleum based raw materials. Also non-recyclable plastic are used in some areas. Transportation needs non-reusable fuel which is abstracted from natural resources. Ashes-mud, paper tubes and cones, non-reusable dirty fabrics, carton boxes are solid wastes gained from packaging and transportation.

Waste Management in Kintting Industry Sectors

Sustainability is the key to reduce global warming. There should be some changes done in traditional practices. In industries, the use of organic chemicals should be increased. Every harmful substance has its non-harmful alternatives, which should be applied. These are also easily water soluble. Use of Amylases, Pectinases, Dicyanamide (partially), Polycarboxylic acid, liquid ammonia, cataleses, formic acid, etc can be used as alternaives which are less harmful. Dyes can be replaced with natural-organic dyes. which are also skin-friendly. This will also prevent wastewater pollution. Natural dyes are acceptable in consumers as rising awareness of global warming and natural stuffs. Re-Heating the solution, EVAC vacuum suction, ultra-filtration processes can be used for chemical recovery.

Wastewater problems are increasing in developing countries. There should be a policy which consists of wastewater treatment and its reuse. Also companies need to take care of automatic shut-off shalves, flow-control valves, water conservation measures in dyeing equipment, use single stage of processing. Reducing water, chemical and energy consumption can be achieved by reusing wastewater.

Energy protection is very important step in dealing with the problems of the global environmental deterioration and conservation of energy. Companies may think about the policy which includes modifying the production processes, updating machineries, chemical prescription and also by using latest technology. High temperature and poorly working pipes causes energy losses. Insulation decreases the surface temperature and it makes suitable working environment. LED lights and less-power machineries can be replaced by old-school heavy machineries, so it will definitely save lots of energy power for future. Also solar-power can be used wherever possible.

Companies need to set the target of recycling and reusing packaging stuff. They can reduce their carbon footprints by using recycled-old material and material obtained from natural things without any chemical or pesticide. Recycled papers or old clothes can be used instead of plastic which can be proved as non-toxic environmental policy. Non-usable textile waste can be converted into insulation material for construction, automobile sectors.


The lifelong effect of ecological and biodegradable products can be prominent because of their re-used, recycled raw material. This will help in overall environmental performance of this industry. All the countries should have all these, and many more policies in favour of eco-friendly production. This is a need of present and future generations.


  1. https://web.a.ebscohost.com/
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/

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Head of Department, B.Voc Fashion Design, K.V.N. Naik College, Nashik