Eco-friendly Developments in Textile Processing and Finishing
Dow Corning and Denim Processing
Dow Corning has a water- and energy-saving eco solution for denim processing and a premium hydrophilic softener. Dow Corning GP 8000 Eco Solution has been deigned to save up to 50 liters of water on every pair of jeans. Using a unique combination of properties, the new softener is said to eliminate separate washing requirements, thus reducing water usage significantly, energy requirements, utility costs, and processing time, while at the same time increasing productivity.
Genencor and 'PrimaGreen'
Genencor has recently launched its new range of ‘PrimaGreen' cellulase, laccase and esterase enzyme products for textile processing. These allow combined denim abrasion, color adjustment and bleaching processes at lower temperatures, mild pH conditions and with significant less use of water. They operate from the vision that they can enable the textile processing industry to be more sustainable and all their research efforts are geared towards this. They are currently developing new finishing technologies for the textile industry, which reduce chemicals, water usage, energy consumption and work under much milder conditions - their solutions tackle specific needs and enhance performance - e.g., their recent first-to-market enzymatic bleaching technology - the key component in the Huntsman Gentle Power Bleach system - yields better product results than existing technologies.http://www.primagreen.org/sustainability/
The process of foam finishing requires less moisture and energy than traditional finishing methods. Foaming machines fold air into the concentrated chemical solution diluting it. Foam is created decreasing the quantity of water added to the fabric. Foam finishing uses an environmentally friendly plasma process to apply water repellent, stain repellent and moisture management properties to apparel and other textiles. The single or double sided finishing machines help ensure optimal chemical distribution allowing even penetration of chemicals at atmospheric pressures. Benefits to adoption of foam finishing technology include environmental stewardship, increased productivity and decreased textile finishing energy and production costs.
In December 2009, Esquel, a Hong Kong based textile manufacturer leading the world in production of premium cotton shirts, and Novosymes, a Danish biotechnology firm largely focusing on the production, distribution, and development of enzymes, announced their joint creation of a biotech finishing technology. The new technology replaces chemical additives with enzymes reduces CO2 emissions and improving the strength, softness, and smoothness of fabrics. To reduce CO2 emissions throughout the fashion value chain, Novozymes launched production (elemental textiles project) and consumer (I do 30 campaign) initiatives.
The goal of elemental textiles is to produce with lower carbon emissions. During the elemental textile trials, Esquel reduced water and energy consumption by bioscouring knitted fabric, dyeing the fabric with special enzyme solution that alleviates the need for singeing, and removing excess dye with an enzyme rinse. The elemental textile project can potentially save 70,000 liters of water and 1,000 kilos of CO2 per ton of knitted fabric during the production process of a sustainable piece of clothing.
The I do 30 campaign is an international movement encouraging consumers to reduce the temperature of their washing machines from 60o to 30o or even lower with a low temperature detergent when washing dirty laundry. Consumers can make a real difference in CO2 production by making environmentally friendly choices in their everyday lives. The I do 30 campaign can potentially save 12 million tons of CO2 in Europe and 20 million tons if CO2 in the US per year.
Elemental Textiles: http://www.elementaltextiles.com/element/Pages/default.aspx
I do 30 Campaign: http://www.ido30.org/
DS-9000 Eco Repel
Historically, flame-retardant chemicals contain fluorocarbon derivatives arousing safety and environmental concerns. They negatively impact the texture of fabric changing soft material to harsh uncomfortable-to-wear clothing. Dow Corning Corporation and Devan Chemicals developed DS-9000 Eco Repel a new eco-friendly softener for flame-retardant textiles. DS-9000 Eco Repel is an encapsulated silicone additive that overcomes issues faced by traditional flame-retardant chemicals because it's formulated with a low amount of surfactants, contains soft and water-repellent textile finishes, formaldehyde-free, and compatible with fluorocarbons and flame retardants. Apparel manufacturers can increase softness and hydrophobicity on existing flame-retardant finishes without impacting flame retardancy. Some primary applications of DS-9000 Eco Repel include usage as a water-repellent silicone additive for textile flame-retardant finishes and a softener for flame-retardant fabric finishing formulations in the mattress ticking, tenting, canvas, upholstery and protective clothing sectors.
GreenShield is an eco-friendly water and oil repellent, stain resistant, antimicrobial and antibacterial resistant and flame retardant fabric finish. Inspired by biomimicry and the ‘microroughness' principle, it works on a molecular level to create a pocket of air between the fabric and water and/or oil, creating a natural repellent. High Performance GreenShield, Low Temperature GreenShield, and GreenShield FR make up GreenShield's product lineup. All products decrease fluorocarbons by 8-10 times, are completely water based formulated, safe and environmentally friendly, permanent with excellent wash-durability, and improve hand and feel. Despite the benefits of GreenShield products, the nanotechnology used in production is still very new technology with unknown long term risks of nano-materials such as toxicities, potential for emissions and human exposure, and environmental and ecological impacts. As a result manufacturers count green principles: using benign materials, using energy efficiently, and generating less waste as highly important.
In 2009, BigSky Technologies acquired the assets of G3i Technology Innovations LLC, the manufacturer of GreenShield. BigSky Technologies LLC is a materials science company that manufactures a range of environmentally safe textile finishes, reducing or eliminating the use of harmful chemicals. BigSky continues to manufacture all current GreenShield products and has begun to develop improved formulations while extending the current product line to new markets.
BE GREEN Concept - New low temperature bleaching process.
G. TOSI S.p.a., one of Italy's biggest finishers of 100% Co yarn (mercerised loose hank / x-cones) and knitted fabrics, jointly developed, with Dutch based company TANATEX Chemicals B.V., a new low temperature bleaching process.
In the classical process for mercerized yarn, a lot of water, energy and chemicals are used in order to achieve a high quality product. This new process is a process suitable for both white for dyeing as well as for full white bleaching, including OBA's at only 75°C. Reducing the temperature of the bleaching reduces the consumption of Methane gas and therefore the emission of CO2 equilvalents.
The new BE GREEN concept is based on a low temperature peroxide activator controlling the decomposition of peroxide and rapidly developing the required whiteness. This system is based on specially dispersants, surfactants and a bleaching activator. Process cycles for the mercerized yarn can be simplified by reducing the total time, consumption of water and gas (CO2 emission) up to 50%. Additionally a reduction of 25% in COD levels in the effluent has been measured.