Jeans, an Italian eco-friendly technology for making vintage denim

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The Italian company Tonello, together with Levi’s, designed a process that avoids the use of pumice stone and chemicals.

Fashionable worn out denim? Nice to see, but bad for the environment. In future, though, things could change, thanks to NoStone, a new Italian technology developed by Tonello, an enterprise from Vicenza, through a partnership with the denim giant Levi Strauss. For its innovation, NoStone won the Industry Excellence Award for sustainable innovation organized at the ITMS, the main world exhibit for textile machinery.

Traditional systems to achieve this particular finish are based on washing machines that contain pumice stone or on chemical treatments. Both methods entail high environmental costs, among which the waste of great quantities of water, the use of chemicals, considerable energy consumption and pumice stone extraction.

The NoStone process, on the contrary, gives clothes a “stone washed” effect in an eco-friendly way, by using a stainless steel abrasive drum fastened to the washing machine in which denim is processed.

This system involves a series of benefits that are missing in traditional techniques. It causes no resource extraction costs and requires no energy consumption to extract pumice stone, and it allows to avoid the problem of managing the waste generated by the use of pumice stone. In addition to that, it does not require the use of any potentially dangerous chemicals.

Tonello, based in Sarcedo, in the province of Vicenza, northern Italy, claims that the NoStone process reduces water consumption and makes it really easy to recycle the water used. The system has a low liquor ratio, that is the ratio between the weight of the processed material and the weight of water required. This ratio is just 1:5, instead of 1:10 which is common in the other processes.

Franky Vangaever, R&D Product Manager for Levi Strauss, declared that NoStone is “an extremely clean process that will make a big impact on the market in terms of clean production. There are alternative treatments available but they need chemicals and energy and don’t really achieve that authentic ‘Vintage US Denim’ look and feel”.

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