Ralph Lauren to launch first scalable zero-wastewater system for cotton dyeing
American fashion group Ralph Lauren Corporation has announced the launch of Color on Demand, a multi-phased platform seeking to revolutionize one of the fashion industry’s most polluting processes by creating the world’s first scalable zero-wastewater cotton-dyeing system.
According to the company, around 20% of the world’s wastewater is accounted for by the trillions of liters of water used for fabric dyeing every year. If left untreated, the wastewater resulting from the dyeing process is highly polluting and must therefore undergo lengthy and costly treatment, if it is to become usable again.
Color on Demand involves a set of technologies that will make it possible to recycle and reuse all water from cotton dyeing, while also reducing the amount of chemicals, dye, time and energy necessary to complete the process.
The system will therefore not only reduce the pollution produced by cotton dyeing, but will also make the process more efficient, sustainable and cost-effective at every stage. This means that it will also allow for much shorter lead times when making decisions about product color.
“Traditional color dyeing is one of the most polluting practices in our industry, and as a global brand, we recognized the need to create a scalable solution,” explained Ralph Lauren’s chief product and sustainability officer, Halide Alagöz, in a release. “Color on Demand significantly reduces the environmental impact of dyeing cotton, and as an added benefit, will enable us to better balance inventory and meet personalized consumer demands faster than ever before.”
In order to develop Color on Demand, Ralph Lauren has teamed up with materials science expert Dow; sustainable garment and fabric finishing leader Jeanologia; global chemicals company Huntsman Textile Effects; and Corob, a technology group specialized in dispensing and mixing solutions.
The first phase of Color on Demand will see Ralph Lauren optimize the use of Ecofast Pure Sustainable Textile Treatment in its manufacturing. Developed by Dow, this pre-treatment solution allows for the use of up to 40% less water, 85% fewer chemicals and 90% less energy, as well as for a 60% carbon footprint reduction, when compared to conventional cotton dyeing.
Ralph Lauren is currently integrating Ecofast into its supply chain and plans to release products manufactured using the technology later in 2021. The company intends to have implemented the Color on Demand platform across over 80% of its solid cotton products by 2025.
Color on Demand is part of Ralph Lauren’s wider commitment to sustainability, which includes ambitious targets for eliminating hazardous chemical use in the company’s supply chain and reducing water use across its operations and value chain within the next five years.
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