It takes 2900 gallons of water to produce 1 pair of traditional jeans. 

And 1500 gallons of that is just enough to produce enough cotton for 1 pair of jeans. 

The rest is used in the dyeing process, and the finishing processes that are used to achieve vintage and worn in looks.

If you've been following the Diligent Denim blog, you'll know that cotton cultivation and consumer care are the most significant impact areas. Levi's did a Life Cycle Assessment on a pair of their classic 501s and proved that consumer care needs to be addressed! 23% of the water used and 37% of the climate change impact comes from the consumer care stage. In comparison, garment finishing contributes a small 1% to the total water consumption and 8-10% to climate change. These numbers might not sound too alarming to you, but they are significant and shows that YOU can personally make a difference by washing your jeans more responsibly.


By washing your jeans every 10x instead of every 2x, you can reduce energy use, climate change impact, and water intake by up to 80%! 

Look for denim that uses water recycling plants at the production facilities.

Look for denim that uses more eco-friendly and water efficient fibers, such as lyocel, linen, or recycled fabrics. 

Look for brands that are using Ozone finishing EquipmentAlso, brands that are using foam dyeing rather than rope or slasher dyeing in one generic dye bath. 

Buy vintage or secondhand!!!


Waste water is also a major issue with processing denim. After denim has gone through the washing process, toxic sludge is left and disposed of in unethical and unsustainable ways.   

They say in China you can tell the next trendy colour by looking at what colour the rivers areA lot of greenhouse gasses are also generated when going through the production, manufacturing, and transportation stages of a jean’s lifecycle

How do we fix this?

Buy brands that are disposing of waste in a humane manner such as turning old sludge into bricks that can be used for homes or using water filtration systems that allow them to recycle the water.

 Buy brands that have clean energy running their production facility. 


Ani Wells

Director of Simply Suzette