India’s AMA Herbal Laboratories Private Ltd has brought Bio Indigo® dye with ‘Life Cycle Analysis’ that will provide a sustainable solution of having lesser environmental impacts to the denim brands and manufacturers.
FT Research Team
AMA Herbal Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. of India has made a breakthrough in the dyeing sector by presenting Bio Indigo® dye with ‘Life Cycle Analysis’ (LCA) for the first time. LCA is a scientific and analytic approach in calculating benefits that brands can get on a sustainable balance sheet by just switching to Bio Indigo® in denim production.
Recently the textile world is extensively working to become 100% sustainable. Brands, as well as manufacturers, are also thinking how to be more sustainable in terms of raw materials, processes and whole supply chain. However, natural dyes is kind of unexplored area in sustainable approach due to unavailability of data for calculation of sustainable benefits. The innovation of AMA Herbal Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. has opened a new door for denim manufacturers to become sustainable.
Bio Indigo® dye is obtained from leaves of plant Indigofera tinctoria, commonly known as indigo, which also exhibits medicinal properties. This dye comes in powder form and is certified on ‘GOTS Version-V’, also has ZDHC, ‘REACH’ to its credit. Its Fastness properties, the process of dyeing and method of use remains same or at par with synthetic indigo. Many big denim mills from Turkey, India, Pakistan, China, Italy, and Japan are already using Bio Indigo® on their rope dyeing machines. Bangladesh Denim manufacturers also showing a good response to this concept. Designers also love Bio Indigo® for its greener cast and the kind of cut effect that it gives.
Denim and Indigo blue goes hand in hand. Initially, denim was made from Natural Indigo only, but now Indigo is also produced synthetically. Synthetic indigo (Indigotin, CAS no. 482-89-3) is produced through a chemical process and makes up for the majority of commercially produced indigo dye in the denim industry.
Bio Indigo® dye being a sustainable product as well as compare with ‘Synthetic Indigo Dye’, AMA Herbal Laboratories have evaluated its environmental impacts using ‘Life Cycle Assessment’ approach as per ISO 14040/44 standard. The study helps to evaluate the various environmental impacts of the Bio Indigo® dye and how it stands compared with the ‘Synthetic Indigo Dye’.
The study shows that dyeing with Bio Indigo® dye has 16% lesser acidification potential when the global warming potential is 9% lower, the primary energy demand was also 8% lower whereas the fresh water demand was 0.4 % higher. The difference in the positive impacts was in the range of 0.4%-23% for various environmental factors defining sustainability of denim.
Additionally, the study shows the comparison of environmental impacts for the production of 1 kg of both the dyes. Except for fresh water consumption, all the other environmental impacts are 10-100% lesser in case of Bio Indigo® Dye.
The key findings of this study are summarized as follows:
- The impact contribution of dye production in both cases of dyed cotton yarn production is not more than 8-9% across various impact categories. The major impact contribution comes from the cotton yarn and energy consumption in rope dying process. Use of Bio Indigo® dye leads to impact reduction, from the credits, it generates as a raw material as well as utilization of dye wastewater in agriculture as a source of nitrogen.
- The impacts from dyes are highly dependent on the quantity of the dye required. Better utilization of Bio Indigo® dye will lead to further impacts reduction.
- This study provides Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) and Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) as regional averages (India) across the industry for dye manufacturing.
- Decisions, as well as the choice of modeling approaches and assumptions, can influence the results of LCA.
- Bio-diversity is not assessed in this study due to its limitations in the LCA methodology.
- The decision should not be taken on toxicity parameters due to their high level of uncertainty. But when compared with Synthetic Indigo Dye, Bio Indigo® dye has lesser impacts for sure.
Bio Indigo® dye can provide a sustainable solution of having lesser environmental impacts to the denim brands and manufacturers. In general, natural dyes have certain advantages over synthetic dyes. Natural dyes are non-toxic, non-allergic and have reduced negative environmental impacts than synthetic dyes.
AMA Herbal Laboratories will explore this area as the next step in their LCA journey. To become sustainable, fashion industry needs sustainable materials and Bio Indigo® dye thus promise in this endeavor.