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Water usage in the textile industry is a serious issue in many regions, prompting textile companies to start exploring options for water reuse and water reclamation to improve their sustainability performance. One of the leaders in the industry, Levi Strauss, has recently introduced a new system that uses 100 percent reused water in some parts of its operations, the Guardian reports.

The technology is currently applied in one of the company's major factories in southern China, where garments are bleached and stone washed to produce a specific look or feel. Recycled water is taken into an industrial washing machine through a pipe and is pumped out again for further reuse. The system has already been used in the production of about 100,000 pairs of jeans.

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Levi Strauss referred to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines on water reuse and recommendations of the World Health Organization on managing water waste while the company was developing the technology, said Michael Kobori, vice president of sustainability at Levi Strauss. The process was developed in partnership with textile industry engineers, who helped adapt the recommendations so that they met the specific needs of the company, he explained.

The process is still in its testing stages, but the company hopes that in time it will be able to use the technology for its entire range of products in other parts of the world, Kobori concluded.