Water use in the textile industry is massive – as in trillions of gallons massive. Hundreds of gallons of water are required to dye even small amounts of fabric, and that water then needs extensive filtration to become drinkable again. With potable water becoming a scarcer and scarcer commodity, how do we save more water for us, and still sustain the textile industry? Well, why not take water out of the equation altogether…
The U.S. based company Air Dye has managed to do exactly that, by creating a new technology that can dye fabric without using a single drop of water! This is an amazing advancement, and one we desperately need in the textile industry. There is one problem though – other than getting the word out and encouraging fabric companies to give it a try…
The Air Dye system can only be used on synthetic fibers, such as polyester, nylon and acrylic. That being said, with synthetic fabrics so prevalent in the interior design industry, the water and energy savings alone make looking for the Air Dye label a new must for designers. And what are those savings you ask. Well, according to Air Dye’s website:
“Synthetic textile-dyeing consumes 2.4 trillion gallons of water a year, enough to fill 3,700,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. AirDye reduces water use up to 95 percent, (Percentage include the production of raw materials used in our process).
Our one-step process cuts the energy consumption of dyeing by up to 86 percent. That’s more than 2.8 trillion megajoules per year — enough to power more than 12 percent of the homes in the United States for a year.”
So who is using this new technology? So far in the interior design world, Hunter Douglas Hospitality and FLOR carpet tiles have both signed on, and I’m sure many other companies will follow. Particularly because the technology adds little, if any, to the cost of dyeing the fabric. In addition, it is possible to do things such as print a different design on each side of a single piece of cloth, making for great possibilities in reversible draperies and other applications.
Imagine if all the plastic water bottles in the world (around 200 billion a year) were recycled into polyester fabric, and then dyed using Air Dye technology? What a great step forward that would be.