Color Dyeing for Life: Waterfree AirDye Textiles


The US Geological Survey Water Cycle chart shows which way the water flows--or not.

The tagline: "The world thirsts for it." The company: AirDye, a fabric dyeing firm that uses 88-95% less water in its printing process than the conventional textile industry. The blog: posts factoids like "One-third of the world's population doesn't have access to clear drinking water." Its website's calculator shows how many gallons of water AirDye saves per article of clothing, ex: a guy's hoodie: 31.25 gallons. Just a clever promotional greenwashing tactic? Not quite. AirDye's "Good for Water" blog, written by Kathryn McEachern, a former editor at Dwell magazine, is informative and targeted to consumers, even we're not its customers directly. Its process is used by Elaine Ferguson Designs, Miss Peaches Swimwear, Stacy Garcia, and others. Each blog addresses some environmental challenge and sustainable solution, such as alarming concerns about food production.

But water scarcity and conservation is its focus, stating: "The textile industry uses and pollutes enormous quantities of water across the globe. Standard dyeing and decorating methods generate so much pollution, they pose a catastrophic threat to rivers, lakes and streams," adding, it's the third largest water polluter in the world. With drought conditions from Texas to India currently devastating livestock and livelihoods, it offers relevant and interesting info a notch above standard corporate responsibility.

Some Water Facts:

• Only .5 percent (that's point five, not five!) of Earth's water is available for human use
• Fewer than 10 countries "own" 60 percent of the planet's fresh water: Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Russia, and the United States
• Traditional dyeing takes 7 to 75 gallons of water per pound of fabric
• Fiber for one cotton T-shirt requires 713 gallons of water

AirDye technology transfers color through heat and gas--not water--saving energy and greenhouse gasses. A detailed environmental report on the effects of AirDye was conducted by research the firm FiveWinds International.


Just in time for Woodstock's 40th. Photo courtesy of Transprint.

Its sister company, Transprint, just released a "groovy" collection, "Love 60's," inspired by love, peace and happiness. Designer Acharee Apibunyopas saw a connection between the social movements of then and now and wanted to convey that bright and free spirit. Too bad she didn't use AirDyed tie-dyes.

Here's the hitch: AirDye only works on synthetic material, not cotton. So it makes sense they hooked-up with A Lot To Say T-shirts, made from recycled plastic bottles. Hmmm, anybody making reusable grocery bags from recycled plastic bags before they're banned everywhere? If so, they might use AirDye to color them green.

More on eco-friendly dyes:
How Much Dye in Merrell's Concept Jackets? NADA
Maker Faire 09: Dying Yarn with Solar Power
New York Fashion Week: Vegetable Dyes and Blessed Silk at Bodkin

Tags: Blue August | Clean Energy | Clothing | Corporate Responsibility | Sustainable Fabrics | Water Conservation