TS009-Sustainability in Textile Industry

Sustainability in Textile Industry
Hitesh Jaiswar, Rahul Prasad, Sunil Kajave
Department of Textile Chemistry, Department of Textile Technology
DKTE Engineering College ,Icchalkaranji, India
Textile industry is considered as the most harmful industry in the world. The eco problems in textile industry. In the production process like bleaching and then dyeing, the subsequent fabric make toxic substances that swell into our ecosystem. During the production process controlling pollution is as vital as making a product free from the toxic effect. Development in natural sustainable fibres like organic Cotton, Hemp and Bamboo fibres. There is an essential need to identify the stages in various steps of textile production that are said to be the greatest cause for environmental degradation with a special focus on substances that are likely to cause harm to eco- balance. Nowdays various processes, techniques and practices related to textile production have been developed to cure the world from being affected by the hazardous effects of chemicals etc. which are either used in textile industry or released as a by-product by the textile industries. These all sustainable methods and techniques need to be adopted by the textile industries in order to save environment and to foster sustainability in the field of textiles.

What are Sustainable Textiles?
Sustainable textiles are textiles (or fabrics) that are grown and created in an environmentally friendly way, using minimal chemicals. Because chemicals are not used in sustainable textiles, there are less health problems that are associated with chemicals such as headaches, allergies, skin irritation, and respiratory problems.

For a textile to be sustainable, it has to be made from a renewable resource, it has to have a good ecological footprint (how much land it takes to bring it to full growth and support it), and it should not use any (or use little) chemicals in the growing and processing of it.
The most suitable definition of sustainability recommended by the world Commission on Environment and Development is ‘meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their needs and desires’.
In recent times sustainability is a leading characteristic of textile fashion products. Textile fashion companies are focusing more on sustainable products these days, so that they can meet the environmental and social aspects. For getting competitive advantage in fashion business the companies have to take care of social, political and economical issues, and they must be aware of current trends of the market. Sustainable fibers provide solution for the companies facing issues regarding environmental problems; these fibers are also favorable to meet the market demands of quality products these days.

Some sustainable textiles include:
Organic cotton -conventional cotton is very environmentally unfriendly as the extensive use of pesticides and insecticides used when growing the cotton cause pollution and also ill health. Organic cotton however is grown without the use of chemicals, making it much more environmentally friendly.
Hemp - pesticides or insecticides are not needed when growing hemp and hemp actually improves the condition of the soil that it is grown in. It is also drought resistant and can be grown in most climates. The fabric can be made from the hemp plant without using toxic chemicals and it can be processed locally, reducing the costs and pollution associated with transport.
Bamboo -as a plant, bamboo is very fast growing, helps to improve the quality of the soil, and can help to rebuild eroded soil. It is very sustainable. Bamboo fabrics can be made mechanically or chemically. Because strong solvents are used in the chemical method, it is not considered a sustainable way to create fabric. However, there are newer manufacturing methods that are environmentally friendly. Look for a label from an organic or sustainable certification body.
Soya - soya cloth is made from a by-product that occurs during the food manufacturing of the Soya bean. The fabric is soft, drapes well, and is comfortable. Look for soya cloth that is certified organic. • Wool -- can be an environmentally friendly fabric with some conditions – the animals need to be treated well and live in humane conditions. The sheep manure should not enter the water supply. Another consideration is how the wool is manufactured – environmentally friendly wool will not use bleach or chemical dyes.
Pina fabric- Pineapple leaves are used to obtain Pina, a textile fiber that is used to make fabrics. The pina fibers are extracted from the pineapple leaves by hand scraping, decortications or retting.

An introduction to Rare Eco-Friendly Fibers:
Stinging Nettle Fiber: This fiber is obtained from the Brennessel plant which is naturally resistant to vermin and parasites. It can be grown without pesticides and herbicides and with very little fertilization as the minerals do not get leached out of the ground. They can be mixed with organic cotton and spun into yarn. Nettle fiber is stronger than cotton and finer than linen fiber. They can be made into a  wide range of woven as well as knitted fabrics. Due to its fine weft and glossy look, nettle fabric was very popular in middle ages but lost its position to inspensive cotton. Now again, it is becoming popular as sustainable alternative to cotton.
Milk protein fiber: These fibers are used to make yet another and eco-friendly yarn- The milk yarn. Milk is dewatered, i.e. all the water content is taken out from it and then skimmed. With the help of bio-engineering technique, a protein spinning fluid is made. Wet spinning process converts this fluid into high-grade textile fiber. The skin friendly milk yarn goes to make glossy and luxurious fabrics similar in appearance to silk fabrics that have antibacterial and antifungal properties too. Their hygroscopic character makes them one of the finest moisture management fabrics. They can be blended with a number of fibers to get many characteristics- blend them with bamboo to get cool fiber and with wool fiber to have a thermal protective fiber.
Banana fiber: The banana fiber is extracted by hand stripping and decortications. Thus, it is 100% eco-friendly fiber. This fiber looks like bamboo fiber and ramie fiber. It is strong, shiny, lightweight and bio-degradable. It can even absorb moisture very efficiently. Banana fibers were used for making ropes and mats till recent past. With its many qualities getting popular, the fashion industry is also fast adopting this fiber for making various fashion clothing and home furnishings.

  • Enzymatic Desizing- by using Amylase bacteria.
  • Enzymatic bio scouring ( by using  lipase/cellulase enzyme)- saves water by 30% and energy upto 60%, less fabric weight loss & strength loss, better fabric quality and enhanced color brightness after dyeing & low TDS in discharge. • Enzymatic bleaching- Catalases/lactases for removal of H2O2) saves water, energy, shorten bleaching process cycle, eco friendly process and consistent bleaching result, saves chemicals.
  • Bio polishing  and Eznymatic based softeners (Cellulase) etc- enzymatic bio- finishing yields a cleaner surface, softer hand-feel, reduces pilling and increases luster.
  • Bio-Stone Washing (Denim Finishing)- Using a special cellulase enzyme instead of pumic stones. Cellulase works by loosening the indigo dye on the denim in a process known as ‘bio-stonewashing’. A small dose of enzyme can replace several kilograms of pumice stones. The use of less pumice stones results in less damage to garment, machine and less pumice dust in the laundry environment; in addition, it’s possible to fade denim without risk of damaging the garment.
  • Decolorization of Dye House Effluent by Enzyme- Laccase enzymes produced from fungi like Trametes Modesta or Trametes Versicolo etc as Fungi are used for dye decolourization in effluent treatment which is major factor for environmental issue.

Eco-friendly fibres: 
Organic cotton, Aloe Vera, Nettle, Pineapple, Milk protein, Bamboo, Banana, Eco spun fibre, Soy silk fibre, Recycled polyester fibre, Corn fibre etc. Processes adopted for eco-friendliness: Some enlightened especially process have been developed to nullify (or) to reduce the toxic releases. This ensures the enhancement of Eco friendly nature. Some of them are listed below.
  • Enzyme technology
  • Foam technology
  • Super critical carbon-di-oxide dyeing
  • Plasma technology

Enzyme Technology - Enzymes are protein substances made up of nearly 250 amino acids. They can be prepared form pancreas, malt and bacteria. They are preferred due to the following reasons: Replace harsh chemicals, Biologically degradable, No pollution, Specific in action, Acts as a catalyst Hydrolases type of enzyme is mostly used in textiles. Bio washing which are conventionally done with the pumice stone. These stone create disposal problems. This non eco-friendly process is now being over headed by the use of enzymes. Effluent treatments are done through the use of several chemicals. As these chemicals are hazardous, they are being replaced by the use of enzymes. The applications of enzyme technology is more environmentally compatible process.

Foam Technology: Foam technology is the next eco-friendly process that is being adopted. It is being used in various fields of textile processing like pre-treatments, dyeing, printing, finishing, etc. Foam is nothing but a colloidal system consisting of a mass of gas bubble in a liquid continuous phase.  This is the liquid dispersion, which uses low water. The foam finishing technology (FFT) process is a novel application system for treating porous substrates with foamed chemicals at very low wet pick-ups. It involves the use of a rapidly-breaking low-density foam or froth as the delivery medium for finishing chemicals, precise metering and flow control for delivery of foam to the substrate, pressure-driven impregnation of the foam into the substrate, and an applicator system designed to allow uniform highspeed application and collapse of the foam in a single step. The semi-stable foam is necessary to get spontaneous foam collapse and spreading though the substrate, and is in contrast to stable foams specified in various foam coating processes normally requiring a separate step to break and distribute the foam through the textile material.

Super Critical Fluid Dyeing Technology: In this certain gas can replace water as solvating medium. High pressure and temperature are needed to dissolve the dyes. Of all the gases being possible of converted into super critical fluids, CO2 is the most versatile and prominently used. Because of its high diffusion rates and low viscosities that allow the dye to penetrate into the fibre. Moreover, by reducing the pressure at the end of the process, dye and CO2 can be recycled. Prominent substances exhibiting super critical phases are CO2, H2O and Propane, of which CO2 is the second most abundant and second least costly solvent. Low temperature and pressure are needed to convert carbon dioxide gas into super critical fluid. In the supercritical state CO2 exhibits very low viscosity and surface tension properties. Supercritical CO2 is one of the most popular fluids currently used in manufacturing processes.  In dyeing field Carbon dioxide has so far been the most widely used as super critical fluids because of its easiness to use (T- 31.1°C, P- 73.8 bar), cheapness, no-explosiveness, non-toxicity, and its recycling capability. The advantage of this process is that contaminated wastewater streams are not produced, washing of dyed fabric is not necessary.  Carbon dioxide can penetrate into fibres faster than water. A high One pressure and constant volume means the higher density of super critical carbon dioxide. Hence the dyes can be dissolved more easily, which means that the colour yield value may also be increased. This process is a potential replacement for the present method, which uses Chloro-Fluro Carbon production of which is now banned. It offers benefit such as the elimination of water and water pollution, elimination of other low auxiliaries, which enhances ecology.

Plasma Technology: Plasma treatment can be used for soil release and water repellent finishes in eco-friendly manner. Plasma refers to a partially ionized gas that consists of ions, electrons and neutral particles. Exposing the fibres to gaseous plasma by two main procedures, which include depositing and non-depositing plasma. Plasma treatment does not, involve handling of hazardous chemicals and thus there is no problem of effluents.

Advantages of plasma treatment:
Plasma processing is a dry and environmentally friendly technique. It does not require vast supplies of water, heating and drying, and only minute amounts of chemicals are necessary to reach the desired functionality. Because the desired material behavior is achieved by modifying only the surface of fibers, bulk characteristics of the material, such as its mechanical strength, are unchanged. Further, plasma treatment allows achieving surface characteristics that are beyond the reach of traditional wet chemistry finishing.

"Eco friendly textiles" are gaining importance in the consumer market. Consumers who initially considered only the aesthetic value are now looking at the harmful effects created by various chemicals. "It is better for the society to prevent pollution than to cure it after its creations". Environmental protection and eco-friendliness play an increasing part in consumer awareness today. Therefore, the textile industry become aware of it and efforts are being initiated in the production and export of "Eco-friendly textiles".

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  • 10 Sami A.M., “Technology of Eco Friendly Textile Processing- A Route to Sustainability” 5 march 2013 

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