ColorZen™ the power of less

Posted by on ott 10, 2012 in Sustainability Mission | 3 comments

ColorZen™ the power of less

Low Salt Diet

At last month’s Continuum show in New York, a new way to dye cotton fabrics was unveiled which claims to eliminate water pollution and vastly reduce water and energy consumption. But what is it? Asks John Mowbray.

Colorzen, a technology company based in New York, unveiled what it claims is a revolutionary new environmental way to dye cotton fabrics that uses no salt, or alkali, thanks to a proprietary fibre pre-treatment process carried out by its partners in China.

“Our technology reduces water consumption by 90% and can dye the same amount of cotton in less than one-third the amount of time, ” said Michael Harari, president of Colorzen LLC, “We manipulate the cotton fibre at the molecular level so that is has a very high affinity for reactive dyes.”

The technical brains behind ColorZen is technical director Tony Leonard, an industry veteran of 40 years who cut his teeth with US textile chemicals company GAF back in the 1970s. “It takes around 13 gallons of water to dye just one pound of cotton, ” said Leonard, “One pound of cotton fabric can also use half a pound of salt, which if discharged places a huge BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand) loading on the aquatic life of a river.”

Leonard is right to point out that the discharge of salt and alkalis associated with reactive dyeing are perhaps the biggest pollution problem in the textile industry right now. And it’s very encouraging that ColorZen is addressing this important issue and its claims have also been backed up by independent tests. Samuel Moore of the Hohenstein Institute America Inc,. told visitors to Continuum that, “overall energy savings from this process were in the 75 per cent range and savings in water usage were around 90 per cent.” The process is now authorised to carry the Oeko-Tex mark, indicating the absence of harmful substances necessary for compliance with the Oeko-Tex Standard 100.

Is this technology new?

The cationic pre-treatment of cotton has been known for many years and is used by companies such as Buhler Yarns in its ‘Rainbow’ collection. This technology works by improving the affinity of (negatively charged) anionic dyes for cotton by adding a cationic (positively charged) dye site to the cotton fibre. Excellent dye yields and good colour-fastness properties are obtained using this process without the use of electrolytes, multiple rinsings or fixation agents, which are normally used in cotton dyeing.

Leonard admits that ColorZen does rely on this cationic technology, but says the process also relies on other variables. “The environmental benefits and process of cationic chemistry served as the insipiration for developing ColorZen, but our technology is far more than just cationic, ” he told Ecotextile News. “While it is proprietary technology, we can tell you that is multifaceted, incorporating sophisticated chemistry and custom engineering, ” he said, “its uniqueness lies in its ability to be mass produced in a cost effective way, something that has never been able to be achieved with cationic.”

The proprietary part of this process means that spinners need to send cotton bales direct to ColorZen’s fibre pre-treatment plant in China, which are then shipped back to the customers. Spinners can then use this fibre in 100% pre-treated fabrics or blends with un-treated cotton to obtain garment dyed heather-effect shades.

Laudable efforts

Whether or not the process is truly unique is perhaps an irrelevance as the company is making laudable efforts to reduce the environmental impact of cotton fabric dyeing. Although we are not clear on exactly what chemicals are used in the pre-treatment process and how they are disposed, but expect this to be in line with local regulations.

But while cationic dyeing is suitable for large integrated textile mills, which knit and make up cotton garment blanks in griege for garment dyeing – its use in smaller mills that outsource has so far been limited.

Yet ColorZen insists that its technology has got around this previous limitation and is a more cost-effective alternative.

And, with The World Health Organisation estimating that 1.1 billion of the world’s seven billion people lack access to clean water, and because in China, that number equates to one person in four, water saving textile technologies are sure to gain more widespread industry acceptance.

Interestingly, the ColorZen technology is also in line with current efforts by brands to reach zero toxic discharge by 2020. Harari concluded, “But we’re going beyond zero toxic discharge of toxic chemicals since there is no water at all to discharge and we don’t use salt.

ColorZen™ technology is a revolutionary pre-treatment of cotton fiber that makes the dyeing process both efficient and environmentally friendly.

For additional info, visit their website:


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3 Responses to “ColorZen™ the power of less”

  1. Dear Sir,
    This new dyeing system is more economic as well as very much evvirnment friendly.
    How can we get your technical support in our factory located near DHAKA CITY of BANGLADESH.
    I will be very happy if your response is early.
    Engr. Monoranjan

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