Among mounting concern over the dire water shortages in California and around the world, several well-known companies are taking matters into their own hands, reducing water in their production processes and educating consumers around water conservation.
Levi Strauss has emerged as a water champion in the fashion industry with its Water<Less™ process, which reduces the water used in garment finishing by up to 96 percent. Where production of one pair of cotton jeans typically requires 2,000 liters of water, last month the denim producer announced that it has saved one billion liters of water since implementing the new finishing process in 2011. However, despite reducing water use on their end, Levi’s research found that a majority of their jeans’ water footprint comes from consumers washing them.
In anticipation of Earth Day next week (April 22) the company has released five tips that will help consumers to not only help reduce their water footprint, but also help their jeans last longer:
1. Know your impact. The average person in the U.S. washes their jeans after only two wears. Do you know how the impact of your washing habits compares to the average person? Take this short quiz to find out, and at the end of the quiz take the pledge to wash less.
2. Spot clean. No need to throw your jeans in the wash for just a little mustard stain. Dab the spot with a damp cloth that’s been dipped in a little soapy water instead.
3. If you have to wash, wash in cold. If your jeans are getting too dirty, then you may have to throw them in the wash from time to time. The cooler the water, the more energy you’ll save.
4. Line Dry. Don’t tumble dry your jeans; the movement and heat will add wear and tear, increase your energy use and shorten the life of your jeans. Line dry your jeans and let nature do the work.
5. Stretch Refresh*.* If the knees and bum in your super skinnies start to sag, turn them inside out and stick them in the dryer on warm, but only for 10 to 20 minutes — no need to waste the energy on a full cycle.
Also during this week’s World Water Forum in Korea, Giorgio Armani and Green Cross International - an independent NGO addressing security, poverty and environmental degradation - are renewing their fifth successive year of partnership in support of communities living in water poverty. In 2015, the two will sponsor new developments in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, China, Bolivia, Mexico – and for the first this year, in Argentina.
Acqua for Life, Armani’s clean water initiative, already supports clean water projects in some 80 communities around the world. Giorgio Armani committed his brand and two fragrances associated with water, Acqua di Gio and Acqua di Gioia, to helping spread the word about water security.
Most people in the developed world use an average of 100 liters of water every day, but in some parts of the world having just 10 liters is a luxury. Armani posed a challenge to prominent bloggers in the fashion world to document their experience living on 10 liters a day and educate their followers online about water poverty and the importance of having reliable access to clean water. They can be followed via the hashtags #1DayOn10liters #Helpgivewater #Acquaforlife and on the official website, www.acquaforlife.org.
And let’s not forget about the oceans: This week, the SurfRider Foundation offered some tips on sustainable gardening practices to conserve water and prevent polluted runoff from flowing into the ocean.
"Numerous local and state governments are passing stricter mandates, and offering incentives, to conserve water and prevent polluted runoff," said Paul Herzog, coordinator of the Surfrider Foundation's Ocean Friendly Gardens program. "Residents and business owners have a serious role to play, from the way they use water indoors to how they landscape."
According to the EPA, up to 70 percent of residential water use happens outdoors for watering lawns and gardens. Turf grass is one of the most water-intensive plants and people tend to overwater their lawns and gardens by more than double the amount needed. Excess water, including that from broken sprinklers and rainwater, runs off the property and into the street, picking up pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides, automobile oil, brake pad dust and exhaust, before going untreated into storm drains that lead to the ocean.
In 2009, the Surfrider Foundation launched Ocean Friendly Gardens, which provides hands-on solutions, do-it-yourself workshops and community events for people who want to learn how to turn their water-wasting, ocean-polluting lawns and gardens into beautiful, economical, low-maintenance and high-impact landscapes.
This spring, Surfrider is encouraging the public to help conserve water and protect their communities and oceans by applying CPR - Conservation, Permeability and Retention - to their landscapes:
- Conservation. Remove your turf. Replace it with an Ocean Friendly Garden of native plants to conserve water, eliminate chemicals and help restore your yard's natural habitat, bringing back the birds, bees and butterflies. Native plants with deep roots absorb and store the most water.
- Permeability. Build healthy and biologically rich soil by adding organic compost to it. This will allow it to act like a sponge, soaking up water and filtering pollutants. Then apply 3-4 inches of mulch on top. Mulch holds in moisture, suppresses weeds and is food for the soil organisms (that feed your plants). Soil and plants also help to reduce climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
- Retention. Direct your rain gutters and downspouts into your dry stream-beds and basins to slow, spread and sink rainwater. A rain barrel can also help slow the rainwater, while you can use a hose to direct the overflow into your landscape or garden.
"Not only does an Ocean Friendly Garden reduce water usage on a property by 80 percent, it provides lasting benefits for the surrounding community and decreases the amount of runoff entering our waterways and oceans," Herzog said.