Paul Raybin – Lifecycle Assessments – Water & Textiles
Paul Raybin is Chief Sustainability Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of Colorep, which created the revolutionary AirDye® technology. AirDye technolgoy manages the application of color to synthetic textiles without the use of water, providing a sustainable alternative to traditional dyeing processes. The process does not pollute water, greatly reduces energy use, lowers costs, and satisfies the strictest standards of global responsibility. It is a world-changing technology for both business and consumers. Paul has over 30 years experience in the printing industry. At Colorep, Paul managed a comparative Life Cycle Assessment project to understand and document the impact of AirDye technology on the printing and coloration of textiles.
– Textile industry is the worlds 3rd largest consumer and polluter of the worlds water
Growing and processing, dyeing and then after sale care
For example, Levi Strauss did a study that found that 919 gallons of water is used per pair of jeans – ie, flusing the toilet 575 times.
With this, Levi is starting to cut their water use in growing, dyeing and post consumer use.
– Traditional dye Process:
Water based dyeing + dye setting + hydro washing = textile + Water treatment
Many of the chemicals used can never be removed from the water, making it unusable industrious water.
It takes on average 125 to 250x the weight of the fabric worth of water to dye a garment.
More than 3.5 trillion gallons used each year for dyeing. Enough to provide 111.4 billion days of water for the average urban dweller. And this pales in comparison to water needs for growing crops and post consumer use (ie, washing, drying)
Aral Sea in Russia used to be world’s 4th largest lake. Today it almost doesn’t exist due to water being diverted for use of the area to grow cotton. The water that remains is poisonous; the land left over is highly contaminated from heavy fertilization and over production.
The textile industry is the 2nd largest polluter in China
Every year 1.5 million children under 5 die due to lack of clean drinking water. More than 1 Billion people do not have access to clean drinking water.
Textile Industry Risks:
Rising costs. Right now water is heavily subsidized, particularly for business.
Resource allocation choices. For example, in California a few years ago water scarcity led to a choice that had many of the agricultural areas being deprived of water as urban dwellers were chosen to receive the scarce resources.
Business risk. In India Coke and Pepsi both temporarily lost their licenses to extract ground water due to overproduction. Communities boycotted the brands.
– Industry Progress
Reusing water – using the same water from batch to batch
Reduce dye liquor ratio
Recycled water – using industrial non-potable water
AirDye – the protected technology of Colorep
DryDye (Yeg (spelling?) group out of Bangkok, using supercritical CO2 to transfer the dye into the fabric while capturing remaining dye and CO2 to be reused on future garments).
– AirDye LCA (Life Cycle Assessment)
ENEA: Toward Effluent Zero
10 dyeing and printing plants in Europe that did a study on their environmental impact. This study was used by AirDye as a benchmark against which they could measure their own environmental impact, helping them complete their LCA.
Their LCA was conducted by Five Winds International & PE Americas.
– What can we all do:
Retailers (ie, Wal Mart and H&M making commitments to reducing their environmental impacts in China last week at Clinton Global Initiative)
Supply Chain – create a point of reference for consumers (such as Bluesign or a 3rd party reviewed LCA)
LCA from your supply chain
Demand improvements in farming and manufacturing
Policy consideration – ie, is water a human right? How should it be priced?
We need to understand these initiatives and move towards them in our own ways.
Mary is the founder, editor and lead contributor at Social Alterations. She is also a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh, where she researches responsible fashion and transnational labour rights activism in the wake of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh.