Behind the Seams: Conserving Water in the Desert
You might not expect to find someone so passionate about water living in the desert, but that’s where Arturo Nuñez found his calling. At Kontoor’s manufacturing facility in Torreón, located in the Mexican state of Coahuila, Arturo is an oasis of scientific knowledge in his role as a Wet Process Engineer. He and his team are responsible for recycling billions of gallons of water during the manufacturing process, using innovative sustainable practices on their mission to completely eliminate the use of fresh water in our wash process and focus on using 100 % recycled water by the end of 2021.
“Positively impacting the environment is our legacy, and it’s a gift that you can give to your community and the new generations,” said Arturo. “Ever since I was a little boy, that’s why I wanted to go to university: to learn about chemistry and how it can work to take care of the environment.”
We were fortunate to catch up with Arturo and talk about his sustainability-driven work.
How did you get your start at Kontoor?
When I started at Wrangler, my first five years were in the laboratory as a laundry technician. My degree was in chemistry, as a bacteriologist and parasitologist. I learned about handling chemicals, security and developing products in the laboratory. While many companies focus on the price and results of chemicals on the garments, at Kontoor there is a strong focus on using scientific processes to reduce our impact on the environment.
What is your day-to-day work like?
As a wet process engineer, my day-to-day involves continually assessing and improving how we use water to create our products. Right now, we are recycling very close to 85 percent of the water in our wash process, and our goal is to achieve zero use of fresh water. I also take care of new products for production, working directly with technical services, merchandisers and product engineers.
What makes the Torreón location so unique?
Torreón is in the middle of the desert, and I like to go out to nearby large sand dunes for recreation. It's funny because I have loved to swim since I was really young, but in Torreón we don’t have a lot of water. That’s why it's in my heart to save water because we know how important it can be, especially in an area where it is scarce.
What do you enjoy most about working for Kontoor?
I'm really happy to be part of this company because our focus on sustainability is really strong. Also, when Wrangler opened its doors in Torreón, it had a huge impact in the small surrounding communities and economy of this area, and it makes me proud to be part of it.
What’s in Arturo’s closet?
I like the jeans in the Wrangler Performance Series line. They're comfortable and the fibers of the fabric are cool. I feel like I’m a part of this product, because we developed the wash and the production templates for the laser finishes.