Simply put, AirDye technology adds color to textiles sans the wet stuff. The patented process system adds PVC-free inks to a paper carrier, then heat-transfers the dyes from the paper to the surface of the fibers at a molecular level. Applying color in this fashion not only uses 90 percent less water than conventional methods, according to the company, but it also requires 85 percent less energy because extreme heat isn’t necessary to dry the fabrics.
DyeCoo Textile Systems is a Netherlands-based company that built the first commercial waterless textile-dyeing machine. The H2O-free technology imbues a pressurized form of carbon dioxide with liquid-like properties, allowing it to penetrate textile fibers and disperse preloaded dyes without extra chemical agents. Once the dyeing cycle is complete, the CO2 is gasified to recover the excess dye before cycling back into the dyeing vessel for reuse—no muss, no fuss, and with far less energy than conventional methods.
Lacoste and Marks & Spencer are among the brands that utilize Huntsman’s Avitera process, which harnesses just three to five gallons of water per two pounds of material, compared with the 26 gallons conventional methods require. Plus, nearly 90 percent of the dye bonds to the cotton fibers, leaving far less unfixed dye to rinse off.
Without using a single drop of water, DyeCat locks dyes into textile fibers on a molecular level, creating colors that won’t run, leach, or fade. The color, in other words, becomes part of the material, leaving no dye runoff to contaminate drinking sources. Bonus: The process uses only as much dye as necessary to color the fabric, which means less energy and little waste.
Jeanologia’s E-Soft technology transforms air in the atmosphere into “nano-bubbles” that soften fabrics using 98 percent less water and 79 percent less energy than traditional methods. The Spanish company, which specializes in garment finishing, also uses ozone rather than multiple washes to fade its denim, saving nearly 4 million gallons of water daily across its facilities worldwide, according to Enrique Silla, its founder and CEO.
AG Adriano Goldschmied
AG Adriano Goldschmied’s jeans aren’t just made in the U.S.A., but they’re also processed using ozone technology that slashes their use of water, energy, and chemicals. “Jeans are typically washed with large amounts of water and chemicals to rid of excess indigo on the garment and pocket lining,” the company says. “The use of ozone technology allows us to clean up the excess indigo without the use of water and pocket-whitening chemicals altogether.”