The textile industry in South Korea is characterized by excessive water consumption, high concentrations of wastewater, hazardous chemicals, and high energy consumption. This study aimed to analyze Best Available Techniques Reference Documents (BREFs) based on best available techniques (BATs) and BAT-associated emission levels (BAT-AELs) and identify potential solutions for tackling environmental pressure from the South Korean textile industry. Therefore, the existing practices of the textile dyeing and finishing industry in South Korea were compared with those from the BREFs of the European Union. Many existing BATs in South Korea are related to reducing water consumption. There is also a strong focus on BATs for reducing wastewater discharge and achieving energy-saving during treatment rather than after treatment, which differs from other industries. Moreover, BAT-AELs were derived for chemical oxygen demand, suspended solids, and total nitrogen for treating non-biodegradable, highly polluted wastewater. Furthermore, BREFs related to atmospheric pollution included dust generated from the heated fabrics in the finishing process that contained cadmium and phenolic hydrogen chloride from dyes and raw materials in the fabrics. Notably, the European Union has not specified BAT-AELs for the textile industry, whereas South Korea has tailored BAT-AELs for toxic and hazardous chemicals. Thus, numerous green techniques to reduce emissions and energy consumption are being implemented in South Korea.
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