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Processed Clothing


Erik de Groot

Clothing Colors

You’ve probably heard about processed foods by now, but what about processed clothing? Wait… processed clothing? Yup, processed clothing!

Give me all the properties!
Antibacterial, UV resistant, flame retardant, water resistant, you might have seen some of these properties on the label in your clothing, and they don’t get there by accident. Let’s pick the property antibacterial for example. Unless it’s made from materials like hemp and bamboo, which offer natural antibacterial properties, the piece of clothing has been chemically changed to get this property. The most common, and most polluting way of doing this is by adding silver to the clothing. You might think you look more shiny or fancy with some added silver, but (nano) silver is really bad for your health. There is even some polyester clothing out there that is treated with silver, and as you know from our earlier blog, that’s only adding fuel to the fire.

Water Pollution


You didn’t think that there are bright purple cotton plants growing in your neighbourhood, did you? 

Dyeing
Fabrics have their own natural colors ranging from white to brown, and thus you need to dye them in order to get that bright color you want.

With the dyeing of fabrics, a lot of chemicals are used. Especially in countries where regulations are looser than my belt after I had lost 5 kg, this is a big problem. Drinking water becomes undrinkable, the environment takes a big hit and you might just get cotton that’s purple because of this pollution. And no, purple cotton is NOT CUTE!

So how do I know if these harmful chemicals are used to dye my clothing? Well... that’s pretty difficult to find out, but you can always ask the brands! One way of minimizing impact is for brands to use GOTS certified dyes, which are less harmful than regular dyes. Despite that, we believe that in the future, the whole industry should move towards using natural dyes. Natural dyes can be created for example by using the indigo plant. Even though this is a great solution, there’s too little being done to implement this on large scale. And yes, we are going to try and use natural dyes in the future too. 

If you know of some projects that are using natural dyes, please let us know because we would love to get into contact with them :)

Enjoy your weekend and we'll see you next week!