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WHO SAYS WE DON’T HAVE REASONS TO GO NATURAL?

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Syed Iqbal Rizvi

natural-dyeWe all probably know that Textile is the 2nd worst offender after oil when it comes to pollution. The ranking however complex to me as Fashion (which is considered the second) doesn’t confine with Textile only!  Moreover Power production, Transportation, Heavy and Medium Industries, Residence/Commercialization (Deforestation) are also a large contributor towards Global Warming and Climate Change. But the fact is true that almost 20,000 different chemicals substance are used in the textile wet processing. The processing water become saturated with chemical additives and then expelled as waste water. Textile Mills discharge millions of liters of effluent each year containing formaldehyde, chlorine, heavy metals (such as cadmium, lead and mercury) which are significant sources of environmental degradation and human illness. Many mills use dyes that release aromatic amines (e.g. benzidine, toluidine). Dye bath effluents may contain heavy metals, ammonia, alkali salts, and large amounts of pigments most of which are toxic. It is noteworthy that some dyes are highly toxic, carcinogenic & mutagenic, and also decrease light penetration and photosynthetic activity.  

Still the good thing is textile industries over the globe with the collaborative approach of UNDP, Govt., brands and retailer’s commitment towards SDG 2030, taking highest steps possible (restricting or banning use of most hazardous chemicals) to keep environment less affected. Circularity – Recycle, Reduce, Reuse are also the concept that is helping industries to become competitive.  untitled-1Bangladesh being 2nd largest RMG producer is not out of it. Infect, we are having highest number of greenest factory (25 Bangladeshi apparel factories – the highest number of platinum-rated garment factories in the world), which clearly reflect our intention and lead towards sustainable textile. So, Bangladesh has the potentiality to cope up with recent dramatic change in buying behavior of end users (mostly western users) who are looking for garments & apparels from ‘responsible producers’ who care about environment, labour norms and social responsibilities to be properly fulfilled. Most of the Mills are now 100% compliance in the above choices of consumers and practice ‘fair trade’. The only fact which needs to be addressed, whether we will keep producing the basic articles (which becomes less feasible as several competition countries stands in the que) or we should turn into specialty items through innovation, value addition and technology advancement. Talking about production or dyeing of the textile, of course process that use dyes and chemicals with ‘low impact on environment’ will give an advantage but if we really need to earn the ‘value proposition’, we need innovative ideas – not only in designs but also throughout the supply chain i.e from Fiber/Yarn to Finished products. Thanks to the backward linkage, we have now so many eco-friendly, sustainable, harmless auxiliaries and dyes, even machines available in Bangladesh that can help us to add values in every stage. In last decade not only has progress been made in ethical approaches to the sustainable production, but also advanced developments for the natural bio-resources and their sustainable use for multifunctional clothing are gaining pace now.  Research on one bath Natural chlorophyll dyes, Organic Salt, Plant and seed based Bio-Waste for special finishes & Bio carbon based repellents (Floro-carbon free) are in progress to give climate friendly chemicals which are revolutionaries if established in the market.

Natural Dyes in the middle of the process (dyeing) can play a vital role to add value to product since it has least impact, climate positive (depending on specific dye and mordant used). Extensive research work has been carried out around the world on application of natural dyes to textile substrates as textile colorants to maintain safe environmental balance. These natural resources are not only replaceable but also bio-degradable compared to limited and irreplaceable petrochemical resources of synthetic dyes. untitled-2Natural or most commonly called herbal Dyes have also been much interest recently in the pharmacological effects and possible health benefits as it carries inhabitant medicinal values like – anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, astringent, anti-inflammatory properties if rightly sourced from nature’s bounty such as leaves, roots, barks, berries, nuts and insects. If the manufacturer knows right (chemical free) process of extraction, and ZDHC practices then dyes become 100% eco-friendly and cradle to cradle benefits will be more than anything else in the line of sustainability! To keep you updated, let’s forget all myth about natural dyes like these dyes don’t last; it fades away quickly; consumption wise need more dyestuffs; expensive; need high temperature; running shades; inconsistency; limited colours options; bulk production not possible etc … Well I am working for AMA Herbal (Global leader in natural dyes) in recent years and after couple of years’ experience with so many giant buyers like – H&M, C&A, Next, G-Star, Debenhams, Asmara, Marubini, Cellio, TESCO, levis  offices and factories experts, we never encountered any of the above except shade limitation. And that sounds reasonable as R&D for making all round perfect dyes is a mammoth task. However, extensive researches are in progress with many other naturally occurring plants, minerals and crustaceans from which we can get soft pastel to strikingly rich natural colors, very soon your yarn or fabric will thank you for it!

AMA Herbal initiated its research on ‘extract form of natural dyes’ in 1996 and today it’s the only successful and commercialized company that introduced and till now confidently producing & selling industry level colorants by nature. Thanks to all brands and users over the world for accepting and appreciating the products. This fact has increased the demand of natural dyes query by its trusted brands to produce products dyed with natural dyes in Bangladesh too. We are getting humongous requirements from washing plants for garment dyeing and denim factories for fabric dyed with our Bio-indigo. Our herbal products are the result of long time R&D by the indigenous and international researchers who are responsible for making eco-friendly and one of a kind product for consumers. Till last decade, articles dyed with natural dyes fall into small niche markets fed by crafts, boutiques and small commercial arcades only. But today it entered into mass market likewise green tea and herbal personal care products.

Therefore our mills and factories must act upon fast to secure their part of business of natural dyes so that they can differentiate their products and get the premium a dire need by the industry at this moment. By manufacturing 100% natural sustainable dyes, AMA Herbal is doing it’s bit as a responsible producer, what are you doing as responsible buyer to ensure 100% sustainable textile? Just bear in mind that all that glitters is not gold.  ‘Natural look’, ‘Nature Dyes’, ‘in line with Nature’ sort of marketing gimmicks doesn’t mean it talks about natural dyes! Select the right product for your garment when buyers ask for ‘Natural Dyes’.

iqubal-rizvi

Syed Iqbal Rizvi, Managing Director

SAMEET DYE-CHEM LTD.

(Exclusive Agent of AMA Herbal Laboratories Pvt. Ltd)

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