In our quest to change the way textiles are being made, we’ll share what we’ve found out and if any of our information is wrong or misinterpreted, please jump in and tell us!
Let’s work together to define what green means to each of us: for example, I read about a woman in the New York Times who says she is green by driving her huge gas guzzling SUV – because she keeps it parked most of the time and bikes almost everywhere. If she were to sell it, the new owner would drive it much more than she does. Therefore, she’s green.
I’d like to start by sharing what we learned when we first got into this. We could find fabrics made with organic cotton. But then we saw that a fabric made with organic cotton, for instance, simply cannot be considered an organic fabric. Why?
It turns out that the textile production process is very complex, and involves many steps such as singeing, scouring, mercerizing, sizeing, desizeing, bleaching, dyeing, and additional finishing. The bleaches, dyes and finishes are usually applied to the yarn or the fabric by immersion in chemical baths. Then the resulting yarn or fabric needs to be rinsed again and again to rinse out the excess chemicals.
So the bleaching, dyeing and finishing all involve chemical baths that themselves often require additional washing, rinsing and drying steps. Lots of chemicals can be (and often are) used at each step. And they are not necessarily benign chemicals.
In my next submission, I’ll have some data from the Hazardous Substances Research Centers of the U.S.