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March 2, 2022

ZDHC unifies wastewater guidelines for wider apparel industry

Multi-stakeholder organisation Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC), which leads the Roadmap to Zero Programme, has updated its Wastewater Guidelines to help the industry reduce the impact of wastewater.

By Laura Husband

The ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines set a single, globally unified expectation across the textile, leather and footwear industry for industrial wastewater and sludge. 

The latest version combines previously separate guidelines for the textile and leather industries into one to give the wider apparel industry a unified expectation for industrial wastewater and sludge and strengthen the Roadmap to Zero Programme, which aims to eliminate harmful chemicals from the global apparel supply chain.

The ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines Version 2.0 was updated in collaboration with the ZDHC Wastewater Council, which is composed of a diverse group of independent wastewater experts from the apparel industry, academia and the water treatment industry. The council was created to guide the update and ensure the parameters and limits included were relevant, stringent and pragmatic.

The update follows a review by the independent Wastewater Council and a public consultation to provide all stakeholders a forum for feedback on the proposed updates.

ZDHC Wastewater Council member, and principal technologist at startup and operations services, Tim Maloney explains: “As a wastewater professional of 40-plus years it was a pleasure and honour to be a member of the ZDHC Wastewater Council. I was very impressed with the knowledge, experience, and engagement of the council members. The council not only represented the spectrum of the industry, it included some of the keystone people that lead our path forward.”

TextileExchange corporate benchmarking director Liesl Truscott adds: “Pollution poses a direct threat to biodiversity in terrestrial, freshwater, and coastal ecosystems. Support from the ZDHC in addressing wastewater from textile processing, will not only play a significant role in helping our industry connect the biodiversity risks but also provide practical guidelines on positive action.”

Key updates to the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines Version 2.0

The official ZDHC wastewater guidelines version 2.0 explains that in the spirit of continuous improvement, the guidelines will be reviewed and revised as needed. It says the latest version was edited to incorporate learnings and opportunities identified during practical application and implementation in the past.

The main updates to the guidelines, which were published on 1 March are:

1. The ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines Version 2.0 combine previously separate textile and leather wastewater guidelines into a single set of guidelines.

2. The guidelines introduce a streamlined approach to sampling and testing for Direct, Indirect and Zero Liquid Discharge.

3. Incorporation of the ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substance List (ZDHC MRSL) Version 2.0 with wastewater limits and testing methods.

4. Introduction on appropriate sludge disposal pathways and an update on sludge testing parameters.

5. Review of the conventional parameters and addition of: E.coli, TDS, sulfate.

6. Definitions have been moved to the glossary.

Click here to read the ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines Version 2.0 in full.

Pakistan denim manufacturer Soorty became the latest contributor to the ZDHC last month.

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