Diving into the deep-end of water waste

Robert Zoch
March 21, 2022

Kornit celebrates World Water Day (in style)


There is perhaps no day we like to celebrate more at Kornit than World Water Day, an annual United Nations observance day, that highlights the importance of fresh drinking water and raises awareness of the 2 billion people currently living without access to safe water. 

The fashion industry is one of the most water-intensive industries in the world, consuming around 79 billion cubic metres of water per year.
It takes about 700 gallons of water to produce one cotton shirt. That’s enough water to drink at least eight cups per day for three-and-a-half years (per person).

We know that About 10-30% of the fashion production is overproduced which means around        144 tons of litres of water are wasted- this is the entire population’s drinking needs for more than 16 years 

While these figures are greatly simplified, the basic principle holds true: the fashion industry’s traditional need for water is simply unsustainable, and that’s before we even get into the other harmful effects textile production is causing.

Water is used throughout the life cycle of every textile, from growing cotton plants or processing polyester and viscose. On the printing end, massive amounts of water are used in inks and printing processes such as spinning, dyeing, and the  finishing of the fabrics. Traditional screen printing also uses a variety of toxic inks that end up polluting our waters. 

Kornit’s mission to minimise water waste

As a company on a mission to transform the fashion industry to become more sustainable, Kornit continues to develop new technologies that reduce emissions, minimise water waste, decrease water and air pollution as well as reduce energy consumption

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) – We recently conducted an in-depth study to demonstrate to what extent our printers are reducing the footprint on the environment compared to a rotary screen printing carousel producing prints on a similar T-shirt, fabric composition and print size. The results were staggering!

Here’s what we found out about our water savings:

When comparing theKornit Atlas Max x digital printing system to the screen printing of a single t-shirt we discovered that the Atlas Max uses up to 93.8% less water 

When comparing the Kornit Presto S this number went up  to 95.63% 

Additional parameters of environmental impact

  1. Terrestrial ecotoxicity
    This refers to the effects of a chemical substance to terrestrial organisms and terrestrial plants. Measuring these effects is crucial in the fight to protect ecosystems and biodiversity. According to our LCA, both our Atlas Max and Presto S pose low biodiversity risks.
  1. Water and effluents

Our solution is free of pre-treatments, steaming and washing, enabling lessened consumption and waste. In accordance with EHS policy, we dispose of effluent at the cycle’s end as hazardous material, separately from the municipal system. Process water undergoes a short softening cycle before use.

On- demand fashion production– 

According to recent researches about 10-30% of textiles manufactured by the fashion industry will never be sold, not to mention, often ending up in landfills. That means around 93 billion litres of water are wasted annually. By providing on-demand technologies, Kornit is empowering the fashion industry to only produce what is truly needed, eliminating waste and overproduction, but helping protect the planet’s invaluable water sources, and greatly reducing pollution of our seas and oceans.

Think big. Do bigger.

In our most recent impact report we stated that by 2026, Kornit’s technology will be responsible for the production of approximately 2.5 billion fully sustainable apparel items, saving 4.3 trillion litres of water, 17.2 billion kg’s of greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing 1.1 billion undesired items. 

This is obviously a great challenge, but there’s too much at stake for both the planet and the fashion industry to not continue this journey full speed ahead.

For more information on Water Day and to take action to protect our waters, click here to go to the official website.