Kilimdenim blueprint for factories of the future

If you’re in search of a denim production site that is wholesome, eco-friendly and sustainable, you need look no further than Kilimdenim in Edirne – a manufacturing site in the European part of Turkey that looks more like an organic farm than a factory.

Kilimdenim is one of the pioneers of Turkish denim manufacturing and has been in business since 1986. over the decades, Kilimdenim has always been keen on improving its production processes, capacity, working conditions and, more recently, also its attitude to sustainability and eco-friendly standards.

J’n’c took a tour of Kilimdenim’s facility in Edirne and you can imagine our surprise when we found peacocks frolicking on the beautifully landscaped lawns of the premises, which, we were told, are irrigated by filtered water which was used in the factory and fertilised by leftover mud from the production process. In fact, the plant is surrounded by what looked more like an organic farmer’s paradise than a factory compound: food for Kilimdenim’s staff canteen is provided by a little chicken farm, busy bees humming around their hives and a variety of fruit trees including apple, cherry, apricot, peach, pear and plum. did we mention the happy sheep and geese, the herb and vegetable gardens and the almond trees yet? Well, you get the gist – we could go on, and on and on…

In contrast to the beautiful natural surroundings, the inner workings of the factory are highly sophisticated. Kilimdenim pursues its sustainable activities by following the rules of a philosophy that has three main tenets: Economical Sustainability stands for efficient production – since 2015, Kilimdenim has significantly decreased its cost of electricity (by 40%) as well as the use of steam (by 66%), fuel (by 70%) and water (by 65%). Social Sustainability is all bout good working conditions and a happy community. The company provides financial aid and boosts healthcare, transport and social development in yeni Kadin Köyü, where most of Kilimdenim’s employees live. It also works closely with the textile department of Erdine university, and cooperates with renowned denim brand g-Star on the ‘raw for the oceans’ project which involves plastic waste being collected in special centres, recycled and turned into polyester fibres that are then used in Kilimdenim’s collections. Environmental Sustainability is paramount to Kilimdenim, especially because this aspect sets the company apart from its competitors. For example, the actual factory only takes up a tenth of the 100 hectares of fertile land Kilimdenim owns. all the rest is used to grow fruit and vegetables, to supply healthy food for the company’s workforce.

But getting back to the beautiful surroundings of Kilimdenim’s plant, which we described so enthusiastically at the beginning of this article: the gently undulating green pastures are the well planned results of the company’s efforts to take care of every possible sustainable aspect. Kilimdenim collected the construction waste that had accumulated on a 7,500m² area and planted 1,500 young trees that are irrigated with the factory’s wastewater. Just one young tree can extract and transform up to a tonne of co² from the atmosphere during its lifetime – now you do the maths! Together with g-Star, Kilimdenim is currently working on yet another very important project, aiming to forgo the use of sodium dithionite in the new generation of indigo dyeing. The metal salt, which cannot be biologically broken down, will not be used any more, which means that the production of toxic waste will be prevented. The denim fabric produced in the context of this project will be introduced with Kilimdenim’s re-create collection.