Investments in development of technology that use less toxic chemicals, less water and energy, would make new methods that will bring more sustainability in the textile industry. “A ton of innovation is happening. It’s very exciting.”

Shoppers looking for their next great outfit make their selections on the basis of color, cut, style, and price. They may not know that dyeing clothes requires massive amounts of water, energy, and chemicals. Those chemicals are released in wastewater from dye houses and textile mills in places such as China, India, and Bangladesh. Reports of rivers with unnatural hues have inspired government crackdowns and sustainability pledges from international apparel brands. But changing this $3 trillion industry will require innovation that can be scaled up and adopted without cost or disruption for manufacturers. Read on to learn about greener ways to color clothes that may soon be available from your favorite retailer. In early June, Dalton Cheng realized something big was afoot. Cheng, who is head of technology for the textile printing firm Intech Digital, heard from customers that Chinese government authorities in Jiangsu province had shut down massive factories that produce synthetic dyes used by the textile industry. It was just the latest in a series of actions that started in the summer of 2017, when tens of thousands of China’s factories were forced to close and undergo environmental inspections. Overall, as much as 60% of China’s denim-dyeing […]

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