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The true cost of colour: The impact of textile dyes on water systems - llkktth173 - 11-06-2022

The true cost of colour: The impact of textile dyes on water systems

Colour is a catalyst for sales success within the fashion industry; it is the first thing consumers notice about a garment. Before feeling the Dyeing Fabrics, trying on for size, or considering the manufacturing processes, colour preference impacts the eye. According to Michael Braungart and William McDonough, on average, only 5% of the raw materials involved in the production and delivery processes is contained within a garment. It is therefore important that we also pay attention to the 95% of the material process that we do not see; a vast component of which is hidden water.

Thick, ink-like water flows through rivers surrounding garment factories; a toxic soup of chemicals discarded from the fashion industry's synthetic dye processes, filtering into the water systems of the planet. Why is colour – this fundamental component of fashion production – allowed to pollute water systems throughout the world? As much as 200 tonnes of water are used per tonne of fabric in the textile industry. The majority of this water is returned to nature as toxic waste, containing residual dyes and hazardous chemicals. Wastewater disposal is seldom regulated, adhered to or policed, meaning big brands, and the factory owners themselves are left unaccountable. Examples of synthetic dyes are disperse, reactive, acid and azo dyes. Natural dyes, meaning colour obtained from naturally occurring sources – are another source of colour for textiles, but these are rarely employed on industrial scales.

Azo dyes are a commercially popular colourant for textiles. They are popular because they can be used at lower temperatures than Azo-free alternatives, and achieve more vivid depths of colour. But some are listed as carcinogens, and under certain conditions, the particles of these dyes can cleave (producing potentially dangerous substances known as aromatic amines). Upon contact with the skin, these can be harmful to humans and pollute water systems. Legislation exists in certain countries, including EU member states and China, that prohibits the sale of products containing dyes that can degrade under specific test conditions to form carcinogenic amines, but low traces of these amines have still been found in garments.

There are a number of key differences between cotton and linen. They include:

Durability. Cotton has a little more stretch and flexibility than linen but is not as durable. Finer cotton, like Egyptian cotton, is made from long-staple cotton fibers, which makes this cotton softer and more durable than standard cotton, but still not as durable as linen. Cotton And Linen Fabric is much more rigid but lasts longer because the cellulose fibers in linen yarn are slightly longer and wrapped tighter than those in cotton yarn, which increases its strength and longevity.

Softness. Cotton is softer to the touch than linen because flax fibers are rougher than cotton fibers. For example, cotton sheets are very soft right out of the box and can last around five years, but linen sheets become very soft after several washes and last longer, up to 30 years.

Texture. Cotton is a smoother fabric, while linen has more of a rough, textured pattern as a result of the looser weave.


An ancient, highly prized fabric, Silk Fabric is mostly derived from the thread produced by the domesticated silkworm species Bombyx Mori. Around 0.11 million tonnes of silk were produced in 2020 (about 0.10% of total fibre)2 in more than 60 countries, but the bulk of production is concentrated in a handful: China, India, Uzbekistan, Brazil, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam3. Compared to other natural fibres, silk is incredibly valuable and commands a price of around $15 per kilo, making the value of production around $3.03 billion per year.

Fabrics are made by weaving or knitting, and are decorated through printing. Textile designing involves both surface design, and structural design of a Printed Fabrics. A sound knowledge of yarns, weaving, knitting, dyeing and other finishing processes is required. The world of textile designing is incredible with beautiful hues, prints, and patterns. But the task of creating a striking design is a complex, and more demanding process. A profound knowledge of the various facets of textile making, market demands, and current trends is necessary. Three skills are basically essential for textile designing; creative designing, working with a right blend of colors, and doing repeats. It is both challenging, as well as profitable.

Core aspects:

The process of textile designing initiates on paper as a simple idea, continues its journey, and completes its cycle in a printed cloth. It includes various styles such as stripes, floral, geometric, checks, paisley, tropical and many more.

Digital Printing Fabrics is the latest printing technique that involves the creation of prints with the aid of designs conceptualized using computer software. The technique is gaining popularity over other troublesome and time consuming printing techniques like roller, screen and transfer printing owing to cost effectiveness. Designs too can be repeated. The technique finds application in designing a range of apparels, accessories and home textiles.

Accessories engineered and designed from knitted fabrics are the latest rage among consumers who simultaneously seek comfort and aesthetic appeal in the same product. Knitted accessories are not only comfortable owing to good moisture, air and heat transmission properties, but can also be decoratively embellished to offer an appealing look. Several surface embellishment techniques, such as hand painting, crocheting, applique work, addition of trims and notions and digital printing, can be applied to beautify knitted fabrics and accessories.

What is Yarn-Dyed Fabric?

Yarn-Dyed Fabrics features designs created by weaving colored threads together to make patterns. Dyeing the yarn before weaving it into cloth creates a unique, artisanal look that differs greatly from the typical printed designs you see on piece-dyed fabric.

To dye the yarns, manufacturers typically use a method called package dyeing. This technique soaks spools of tightly wound plain yarns in the dye solution. Just like in Home Depot, when you need to get a bucket of paint mixed up, the manufacturer uses a computer to code in specific colors for the dyes.

Once dyed, the manufacturer can turn the yarn into cloth in several different ways. The cool, special quality of yarn-dyed fabrics is that the design is woven into the cloth. The more prevalent piece-dyeing method essentially prints a design onto a whole section of cloth.