UGA scientists find eco-friendly way to dye blue jeans
Researchers from the University of Georgia developed a new indigo dyeing technology that’s kinder on the planet. The new technique reduces water usage and eliminates the toxic chemicals that make the dyeing process so environmentally damaging. And to top it off, the technology streamlines the process and secures more color than traditional methods.
“The textile industry is a classic example of an environmental polluter, and one of the major causes of pollution in the industry is coloration,” said Sergiy Minko, a corresponding author of the study and the Georgia Power Professor of Fiber and Polymer Science in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. Originally, natural indigo was used to dye textiles. Introduced to the Colonies in the 1700s, indigo was an important cash crop for early America. But the discovery of a way to produce synthetic indigo almost entirely wiped the natural indigo market off the map.
Published in the journal Green Chemistry, the new method of dyeing uses natural indigo (though the streamlined process could also use synthetic) and completely eliminates the use of harmful chemicals used in conventional methods. It also requires only one coat of the indigo to secure over 90% of the color, significantly reducing the amount of water needed to dye the fabric.