Rivers suffer from colorful fashion, so bio color should help

Large fashion companies are investing in cleaner wastewater. Primark tells NOS that the 37 factories in Bangladesh, with which the company works most, have been testing their wastewater since 2020 and making the results public. Primark, however, has clothing made in more countries and does not provide any information about the situation there.

H&M states in its sustainable annual report that 88 percent of the controlled production locations with a water purification installation will meet the requirements set for waste water by 2021.

Lemon peels and nanostructures

Startups and researchers develop natural textile dyes, without chemicals. This natural paint comes from algae, fungi, fruit, plants and flowers, for example.

Fashion designers Viktor & Rolf once used wool that textile artist Claudy Jongstra painted black using indigo and dye from lice. Primark and outdoor brand Patagonia launched garments dyed with lemon peel and palm leaves.

However, there is one major drawback to natural paint. “Color made from natural ingredients fades relatively quickly, so it’s not that interesting for many brands, because they want to offer a colorfast product,” explains Vandoorne.

Look at color differently

Boto is therefore working on a completely different way of coloring, with nanostructures. “Beetles, among other things, have these nanostructures. Their color depends on how the light reflects on them. These kinds of structural colors consist of creatine and melanin: substances that are very common in nature. If you can spin threads with structural colors, you can clothes really any color.”

Regardless of technological developments, however, both the researcher and the journalist believe that consumers and industry should look at color differently. “Is it so bad when color fades after a while?” Boto wonders. “Clothes that change slowly can be interesting. They can also be easily reused or recolored, and make recycling easier.”

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