In general, textile and leather industries are water-intensive sectors.

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The main environmental concern is therefore related to the amount of water consumed and discharged and the chemical load that waste water carries.

In general, traditional finishing treatments that provide textiles and leathers with functional features such as water-proofing or fire-retardant properties, involve significant energy consumption as well as large volumes of water (both in bath liquors and in further rinsing). In addition, in most cases, said treatments involve also the use of chemicals such as halogenated organic compounds, biocides and organophosphorous compounds, the use of which is currently restricted or under consideration in the European Union (REACH and Biocides legislations).

Other environmental issues of relevant interest are air emissions, as well as solid wastes and odours generation, which can be a significant nuisance in certain treatments.