Cotton Dyeing Process Makes Textiles More ‘Effective’

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This year, the Copenhagen Fashion Summit included an Innovation Competition that saw 12 finalists pitch their technologies onstage in front of a panel of expert judges and Summit attendees. After a series of presentations and judging sessions over the two day event, the winner was announced: ColorZen.

ColorZen applies a patented pre-treatment to cotton fibre that changes the charge of cotton to positive so that dye quickly locks into place, allowing the cotton to absorb far more dye during the dyeing process, and eliminating the need for the toxic chemicals that otherwise are required in traditional dyebaths and often result in water pollution.

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The proprietary technology allows the dyeing process of a cotton garment to require up to 95% fewer chemicals, 90% less water, 50% less dye, and zero salt.

Meanwhile, a new collaboration called Project EFFECTIVE has been launched to drive commercial use of more sustainable fibres and plastics in the textile industry. Twelve companies across the value chain – including brands such as H&M, Carvico, Vaude and Balsan – will work to produce materials from renewable feedstocks and bio-based technologies rather than oil and gas, supported by a multi-million euro grant.

Led by Aquafil and Genomatica, one of Project EFFECTIVE's key objectives will be to develop a more sustainable nylon, made from bio-based caprolactam produced using renewable feedstocks. Germany's Südzucker will supply these feedstocks, Genomatica's bio-based chemical technology will process them, and Aquafil will create its bio-nylon-6 from the resulting material.

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Italy's Novamont and Life Cycle Engineering, Spain's Fundación CIRCE, Slovenia's Circular Change, and Croatia's Bio-Mi round out the participants with their expertise in conversion technologies, production, recycling, reuse, and biodegradability.

The project, which officially starts in June, has received a 7.1 million euro grant as part of the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme.

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