Water

Our approach

2020 highlights

Managing our water

Our goal is to manage wastewater in the most environmentally conscious way possible. To do this, we have invested in innovative water treatment systems, such as our condensate and heat recovery systems, Biotop bio-organic lagoons, and biological reactors. We enforce strict controls on all effluents discharged from our wastewater treatment plants and ensure that we do not release water into any protected body of water or wetland. Water that re-enters our local ecosystems is continuously monitored for compliance with local requirements and corporate standards.

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Cleaning our wastewater

The Gildan Biotop is our innovative biological wastewater treatment system. The system treats wastewater through a series of interconnected lagoons containing bacteria that virtually eliminates all dyes and chemicals and uses no incremental energy to process the water. Over a thirty to forty-day cycle, water flows through the system where various bacteria, microorganisms, fish, and wildlife coexist to naturally return clean water, ready to sustain life, back to the environment. The water that re-enters the local ecosystem is continuously monitored for compliance with local requirements.

Our two Biotops are home to many animals. The wetlands surrounding them sustain gallery forests, which support various plants and animals and serve as critical habitats for migratory birds. These wetlands also act as naturally occurring carbon sinks that help mitigate the effects of climate change.

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Using less water

Another way we manage water is by ensuring we use less and less of it every year. Our goal is to harness systems that allow us to integrate practices focused on reusing and recycling to maximize how much of it we use. We do that by using a heat recovery system and thermal energy produced by the effluent from our operations to heat water required for our manufacturing process. Between 2013 and 2020, our heat recovery system allowed us to generate approximately 6,300,000 m3 of hot water from our wastewater. That's equivalent to 2,550 Olympic-size swimming pools.