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Published on July 28th, 2009 | by Ariel Schwartz

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AirDye Removes Water from the Fabric Dyeing Process

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July 28th, 2009 by  

Even the most ardent environmentalists sometimes forget that color-infused fabrics are some of the biggest water users around, sucking up dozens of gallons of water for a single pound of clothing. In a resource-constrained world, that’s no longer acceptable. Colorep., a California sustainable technology company, is trying to make fabric dyeing a water-free prospect with its AirDye process, which uses air instead of water to assist dye in penetrating fiber in products like swimsuits, drapes, and t-shirts.

There are some downsides: the process only works on synthetic fabrics (natural fabrics make up half the world’s market) and it’s currently only available in the U.S., though Colorep plans to bring it to Europe and Central America later this year.

But AirDye has some major potential benefits, too. The system uses 95% less water and 86% less energy than conventional fabric dyeing processes. And while 10% of conventionally-dyed fabric is damaged during the production process, only 1% of AirDyed fabrics are damaged.

Will AirDye change the world of fabric-dyeing as we know it? Probably not, but the system could at least cut some of the 2.4 trillion gallons of water used in synthetic dyeing each year. Check out the AirDye system in action below.

[Via TriplePundit]

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



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