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Your Denims Are Polluting the Planet

#JeansForDays for you but decades for our planet. A wardrobe essential, a popular choice, the denims you own in any form has cost us colossal levels of irreversible damage. It takes all of 9,500 litres of water to make a single pair of jeans. And that’s not all, the chemical-heavy production process causes serious harm to the workers involved along with the air we breathe. So, what’s the alternative? Ahead, we explore the true cost of producing denims and the choices we have to reduce the damage. 

Key Takeaways The True Cost of Producing Jeans

Blue is easily the most ubiquitous choice of colour when it comes to jeans. However, attaining this colour and its many shades comes at a hefty price for the environment and the workers involved.

When Levi’s began manufacturing their denim jeans in 1873, they used indigo dye extracted directly from leaves of the Indigofera tinctoria plant. But by 1882, indigo was being chemically synthesised resulting in a denim blue that now involves large quantities of petroleum. Once the dyeing process is over, denims are then treated and washed with additional chemicals to either soften or texture it. And because indigo isn’t water-soluble, more toxic chemicals need to be added to turn it into a liquid dye that can be highly hazardous to the workers involved.

What’s worse? After prolonged skin contact, these chemicals can increase the risk of cancer, acute illness and cause diseases.

In most cases, the chemical-laden wastewater is dunked into nearby rivers and lakes where it causes further damage to marine life. Soon as the dye bath enters the water streams, they release chemicals that don’t even break down but percolate inside causing further damage to aquatic plants and animals. The World Bank has identified 72 toxic chemicals in our waterways that have come solely from textile dyeing, 30 of which can’t even be removed.

But the chemical dyes used on denims aren’t the only threat to our environment. According to Fashion Revolution


Producing a single pair of jeans consumes a whopping 9,500 litres of water — right from growing raw cotton to the finished product


The Sustainable Solution

One of the easiest ways to minimise your denim impact would be to keep them around in use for longer by either thrifting or upcycling them. Denim is inherently a sturdy and resilient fabric, which makes it ideal for circular use. However, if you are in the market for a new pair of jeans, choosing a pair of sustainable TENCEL™ denims instead of conventional cotton ones is your best bet. 

Go for plant-based TENCEL denims over conventional cotton denims to reduce environmental impact 

TENCEL™ denims are cellulosic fibres of plant-based origin that are sourced from sustainably harvested wood. The result is an even softer jean that doesn’t rely on chemicals to provide you with that comfort. 

Jeans containing TENCEL™ Lyocell and Modal fibres are produced using innovative technology with low amounts of water. 


Their fibres have gained a global reputation for their environmentally responsible, closed-loop production process, which transforms wood pulp into cellulosic fibres with high resource efficiency and low ecological impact. The best part, your TENCEL™ denims will biodegrade when it finally makes its way to landfill. 


If you’re ready to refresh your wardrobe with some sustainable denim, then peruse through our latest lineup of TENCEL™ denims.



Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2021-02-25

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