What we wear says a lot about who we are. As consumers, we look for products that reflect our values and today that means clothing and textile products that are sustainable and better for us and the planet. How can businesses capitalise on this demand for more environmentally friendly products?
Textile dyeing is an area of increasing concern. Traditional dyeing methods have been wasteful, requiring the use of large amounts of water, energy, and harmful chemicals, which often end up in the environment through effluent loss.
Forward-thinking manufacturers are turning to alternative dyeing techniques, such as dope dyeing and vegetable dyeing, to answer this demand for more sustainable products.
Sometimes called spun dyeing or coloration, mass coloration or dyeing, or solution dyeing, this technique involves thecoloring matter being incorporated into a polymer solution, or polymer melt, before the fiber filament formation. Since the color is incorporated directly into the fiber, it offers exemplary colorfastness and superior coloring matter dispersal. It also negates dye loss into effluents and ends the need for after-treatments and additional rinsing.
Natural dyes are another even more sustainable alternative. Biodegradable and renewable, these dyes originate from plants – seeds, flowers, roots, leaves, fruits, etc. – and because they come from ‘natural’ they are better for us and the environment. However, they do have limitations – poorer colorfastness and reproducibility of shades and a low affinity for synthetic fibers.
While these two dyeing techniques do provide an effective solution to the demand for more sustainable dyeing techniques, there is a problem: differentiating between them and other less sustainable options is difficult. Without laboratory analysis it is impossible to distinguish between genuinely dope or vegetable dyed materials and other less sustainable options.
To build trust in dope or vegetable dyed products, manufacturers and brands must be able to verify and demonstrate to consumers and buyers that they have used these alternative methodologies. For this to have value, the laboratory assessment must be independent and delivered by a trusted service provider.
In today’s competitive markets, where demand for sustainable products is growing, demonstrable conformance to recognized standards, verified by a trusted third-party service provider, is the key to building consumer confidence and continuing business success.