Our envi­ron­men­tal aspects

The iden­ti­fi­ca­ti­on of direct and indi­rect envi­ron­men­tal aspects is an essen­ti­al part of any envi­ron­men­tal manage­ment sys­tem. These aspects are recor­ded, eva­lua­ted and review­ed at regu­lar intervals.

Direct envi­ron­men­tal aspects

Direct envi­ron­men­tal aspects are clo­se­ly lin­ked to our company’s acti­vi­ties and pro­ducts, and can be ful­ly controlled.

The envi­ron­men­tal manage­ment sys­tem has a posi­ti­ve effect on the company’s envi­ron­men­tal per­for­mance, inclu­ding, for exam­p­le, the regu­lar coll­ec­tion of key figu­res and con­ti­nuous impro­ve­ment through the imple­men­ta­ti­on of the envi­ron­men­tal programme.

The pro­duc­tion pro­ces­ses are very ener­gy-inten­si­ve and very water-inten­si­ve. Requi­re­ments for water abs­trac­tion based on the water right per­mit must be com­pli­ed with.

Various che­mi­cals and poten­ti­al­ly hazar­dous sub­s­tances are used in pro­duc­tion. Requi­re­ments for the safe and pro­per hand­ling of the­se sub­s­tances must be taken into account, in order to exclude hazards for employees and the envi­ron­ment. In the event of non-com­pli­ance, sources of envi­ron­men­tal impact such as con­ta­mi­na­ti­on of the soil and water, as well as end­an­ge­ring the health of employees, can­not be ruled out.

The pro­duc­tion pro­ces­ses emit main­ly total car­bon, metha­ne, metha­nol, form­alde­hyde and other orga­nic sub­s­tances. Devia­ti­ons from the per­mis­si­ble limit values would lead to increased envi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­ti­on. The ope­ra­ti­on of plants for the pre-tre­at­ment and finis­hing of tex­ti­les is regu­la­ted by the Fede­ral Immis­si­on Con­trol Act.

An indi­rect dischar­ge per­mit entit­les the com­pa­ny to dischar­ge was­te water from pro­duc­tion into the public was­te water sys­tem of the city of Rhei­ne. The mini­mi­sa­ti­on of resi­du­al paint and finis­hing liqu­ors, the regu­lar moni­to­ring of the values in the company’s own mixing and equa­li­sa­ti­on basin, and com­pli­ance with the requi­re­ments sti­pu­la­ted under the per­mit must be ensu­red at all cos­ts, in order not to end­an­ger the envi­ron­ment or nega­tively influence the ope­ra­ti­on of the was­te­wa­ter plant.

Impro­per dis­po­sal of any was­te poses a hazard to the envi­ron­ment and employees. Sin­ce resi­du­al was­te is only recy­clable to a limi­t­ed ext­ent, both the sepa­ra­ti­on of the dif­fe­rent types of was­te and the mini­mi­sa­ti­on of resi­du­al was­te must be ensu­red. The share of was­te declared as “hazar­dous” is less than 0.5 %. What is rele­vant, howe­ver, is the sto­rage and pro­per dis­po­sal of resi­du­al liqu­ors and types of sludge. The­se must be dis­po­sed of by a qua­li­fied ser­vice pro­vi­der to avo­id trig­ge­ring a nega­ti­ve impact on the environment.

The pro­duc­tion pro­ces­ses on site are cha­rac­te­ri­sed by high elec­tri­ci­ty, gas and water con­sump­ti­on, the use of various che­mi­cals in the finis­hing pro­cess, and a high volu­me of was­te water. The­se fac­tors increase the risk of inci­dents with a poten­ti­al­ly nega­ti­ve envi­ron­men­tal impact. Due to the company’s pro­xi­mi­ty to the “Hen­ge­müh­le” land­scape con­ser­va­ti­on area and the “Ems­aue” natu­re con­ser­va­ti­on area, devia­ti­ons from limit values or envi­ron­men­tal acci­dents would lead to increased pol­lu­ti­on of the­se con­ser­va­ti­on areas.

Indi­rect envi­ron­men­tal aspects

Indi­rect envi­ron­men­tal aspects are cau­sed by the company’s inter­ac­tions with third par­ties. They, the­r­e­fo­re, rela­te pri­ma­ri­ly to upstream and down­stream pro­ces­ses, pro­ces­ses that take place both in the sup­p­ly chain and at our cus­to­mers’ premises.

The pro­ces­sed tex­ti­les in the cur­rent pro­duct port­fo­lio are pre­do­mi­nant­ly made of con­ven­tio­nal­ly grown cot­ton, vir­gin poly­es­ter and elas­to­le­fin. The cul­ti­va­ti­on of cot­ton can ent­ail various types of nega­ti­ve impact, espe­ci­al­ly in regi­ons with water scar­ci­ty or weak envi­ron­men­tal regu­la­ti­ons. Cul­ti­va­ti­on in mono­cul­tures places an addi­tio­nal bur­den on regio­nal eco­sys­tems. Cru­de oil is used for the pro­duc­tion of poly­es­ter. Elas­to­le­fin, also a che­mi­cal fib­re, can also have nega­ti­ve con­se­quen­ces for the envi­ron­ment due to sol­vents and spin­ning oils used in the pro­duc­tion process.

In raw fabric pro­duc­tion, ener­gy con­sump­ti­on is very high and the use of rene­wa­ble ener­gies is almost non-exis­tent in some pro­duc­tion count­ries. In addi­ti­on, the choice of sizing agents and the impro­per use of other che­mi­cal auxi­lia­ries (e.g. spin­ning oils) can have a nega­ti­ve impact on the envi­ron­ment. The pro­duc­tion of basic che­mi­cals and the majo­ri­ty of dye and auxi­lia­ry pro­duc­tion takes place in regi­ons with a weak enforce­ment of envi­ron­men­tal regu­la­ti­ons. This poses a poten­ti­al thre­at to the envi­ron­ment and the socie­ties living there.

The deve­lo­p­ment of the tex­ti­le indus­try and, with that, our mar­ket, in a para­digm shift towards sus­taina­bi­li­ty and envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion is an important con­cern for us. Our own invol­vement in asso­cia­ti­ons and orga­ni­sa­ti­ons, as well as net­wor­king with various com­ra­des-in-arms, makes a posi­ti­ve con­tri­bu­ti­on to the sus­tainable deve­lo­p­ment of the tex­ti­le indus­try. Mem­ber­ship of the Part­ner­ship for Sus­tainable Tex­ti­les is par­ti­cu­lar­ly note­wor­t­hy here.

Cus­to­mers often use our pro­ducts in the lea­sing sec­tor, whe­re they are sub­ject to fur­ther pro­fes­sio­nal rewor­king. This tre­at­ment is water and ener­gy inten­si­ve, and various tre­at­ment agents are used here. Impro­per pro­ces­sing has a signi­fi­cant impact on the lon­ge­vi­ty and dura­bi­li­ty of the goods. Par­ti­al­ly washa­ble finis­hes and fib­re resi­dues can get into the tex­ti­le ser­vice provider’s was­te water during the tre­at­ment pro­cess. End-of-life dis­po­sal is, in a best-case sce­na­rio, the product’s reu­se. In this recy­cling pro­cess, tex­ti­le was­te is fur­ther pro­ces­sed into clea­ning rags, insu­la­ti­on mate­ri­al or in the tear fib­re indus­try. Alt­hough ener­gy is gene­ra­ted during ther­mal recy­cling, various gases are also pro­du­ced in the com­bus­ti­on process.

Depen­ding on the coun­try of ori­gin, the raw fabric is usual­ly deli­ver­ed by sea or by truck. The trans­port rou­tes of other sup­p­ly chains are lar­ge­ly unknown. The deli­very of raw and auxi­lia­ry mate­ri­als to our pro­duc­tion site, the trans­port to (and from) our finis­hing part­ners and the dis­patch of the sold goods are also car­ri­ed out via HGV. Busi­ness trips, as well as the arri­val and depar­tu­re of employees, are main­ly made by car. This is asso­cia­ted with envi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­ti­on, such as the emis­si­on of car­bon dioxi­de (CO2) or nitro­gen oxi­des (NOX).

Development of water consumption in m3

The high level of water consumption in production brings with it a corresponding volume of waste water. Compliance with the limit values from the Waste Water Ordinance is ensured by the indirect discharge permit. The daily control of the mixing and equalisation basin by our employees, as well as through the regular inspections by the responsible monitoring authorities, give us the necessary security. 

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