The textile and apparel sector is rapidly aligning with other manufacturing sectors to increase sustainability and decrease its carbon footprint. In a world full of colors, shades, hues and tints, fabric manufacturing that includes dyeing is not only one of the two main action points but also the single most polluting part of the entire textile manufacturing process, emitting a whopping 52 per cent of the sector’s carbon emissions.
Compared to extracting raw material or processing raw material to yarn that are responsible for 24 per cent and 15 per cent of carbon emission in the textile manufacturing process, the difference is just disproportionately large. Additionally, the dyeing and the subsequent washing process also consume 74 per cent of the water required in the manufacturing of textiles.
Dyeing it right
Headquartered in Hoofddorp, Netherlands, DyeCoo has more than 20 years of experience in carbon-dioxide technology. With extensive knowledge in design and engineering of Carbon-dioxide equipment, and factories in five different countries, DyeCoo provides clean textile processing solutions on an industrial scale. Its revolutionary Carbon-Dioxide Dyeing is a groundbreaking technology now being used globally to cut down water usage by half and carbon-emission by 90 per cent.
For the last 13 years textile manufacturers in the Netherlands, Taiwan and many other South East Asian textile hubs such as Vietnam and Indonesia. Nike, Adidas and Ikea are keen backers of this sustainability-forward process and prefer their vendors to use it for their products.
The DyeCoo process involves release of carbon-dioxide under high pressure, turning the gas into a gaseous liquid replacing water as the substrate to mix the dye and colour the fabric. Hence, its claim of zero water dyeing is indeed true. The process which involves stainless steel dyeing vat connected to a tank of carbon-dioxide with an adjustable pressure valve also has a built-in system that can recycle up to 95 per cent of the carbon-dioxide used for dyeing thereby making its claim of cutting down carbon-dioxide emission drastically is also true. However, it should be noted that water is used in the post-dyeing rinsing process as this is inevitable for now.
Other innovations in dyeing
Debs Corporation of Japan claims its patented process termed AirDry transfers dye from paper to fabric via a printer-like machine. This technology does not claim zero water usage – it only uses 95 per cent less water than standard processes and it saves up to 86 per cent of energy cost for the dyeing process, a true marvel in sustainability and cost-efficiency. British innovating start-up Alchemie Technology also lays claims to a process quite similar to that of AirDry. Swiss HeiQ Clean Tech states that its dyeing technology reduces the dyeing time of polyester with dispersed dyestuffs by 35 per cent, and is the best dyeing technology for polyester textiles.
Indian technology focused on waterless dyeing
Mumbai-based Deven Supercriticals has a patented technology Suprauno which claims to be completely water-free dyeing of any textile using legacy dyes and not limited to new technology-driven dyes that are currently expensive. Thanks to its realistic technology, Suprauno is being on-boarded by many Indian textile manufacturing units who are not interested in investing in expensive new-fangled colorants.
Many small enterprises in Tirupur are now showing interest in transferring from the traditionally used chemical dyes to bio-based dyes. Whilst the latter is more expensive and the process more time consuming, owners of small textile mills and dyeing units have felt the impact of chemical dyeing effluents polluting the town’s agricultural lands and water bodies and are making an effort to arrest the growing levels of toxicity in Tirupur.