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Hitega (Hilados y Tiejidos Garib) is a Chilean textile mill producing dyed yarn and fabric made of polyester and rayon. It produces more than 1,000 tonnes a year of dyed material and a similar quantity of non-dyed, finished fabric.

The production process requires several changes of water, and the use of dye, bleach and other chemicals. The company identified several 'cleaner production' opportunities, in relation to the improvements in the use of water and energy, and the amount of suspended solids in the effluent stream.

Hitega used three techniques to improve the plant's water management: recycling the softened water used to cool the dye bath; recycling the water supply for the air conditioners in the spinning and weaving rooms; and improving softener regeneration and service.

To become more energy-efficient, Hitega developed a maintenance plan for leaking steam traps. Screens were installed in dye room drains to reduce the amount of suspended solids in effluent.

The resulting environmental benefits of these initiatives were water, energy and chemical conservation, and reduced emissions and effluent-borne solids. Most of the measures adopted had payback periods of two years or less. The recycling of dye cooling water, for example, cost $750 but delivered a saving of $400 a year.

Read more about: Cleaner production
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