How does colour impact the planet?

Colourful clothing and prints have long been a staple in the fashion industry & something we love here at Junk LDN. Colour is the first thing you notice before you can touch and feel the fabric, or try the garment on. It is a fun way for individuals to express themselves. Fashion is art, after all.. but, is all this colour costing the earth?

 

Sadly, the majority of fabric dyes are made of nasty synthetic chemicals. 

Most of the countries that manufacture garments using synthetic dyes rarely regulate their water waste disposal, meaning the chemicals are dumped into surrounding rivers which then filter into waterways. The chemicals kill ecosystems, are dangerous to human health & destroy surrounding habitats. Turning once beautiful lakes & rivers, into thick chemical soups. It’s now been said that you can tell next season's trend by the colour of rivers in China.

Local communities surrounding garment factories feel the effects of these toxic dyes the most - the Citarum River, In Indonesia (referred to as the most polluted river in the world) is the dumping ground for many waste chemicals, despite approximately 35 million people relying on water from the river. There have been links to increased cancer rates, skin diseases, and slow mental development in children.

 

Credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images

 

But.. We love color at JUNK LDN!?

Colour is a huge part of our brand & we know that our customers love it too. That’s why thankfully, there are some great alternatives to synthetic fabric dyes that we use in our manufacturing process.  Here are some non-toxic alternatives to look out for when purchasing any item of clothing:

 

  • OEKO-TEX certified dyes. Fabrics that are dyed using OEKO-TEX dyes have been certified free from harmful levels of more than 100 substances known to be toxic to the environment, human & animal health. These dyes are long-lasting & can still produce vibrant hues, 
  • Natural vegetable dyes. Did you know? Long before synthetic dyes existed, we used to dye clothing with vegetables and spices such as beetroot, turmeric, and onions! Cool right? Handling vegetable dyes is much better for those producing the clothing as there are no man-made chemicals involved and the dyes don't impact the fabric bio-degrading at the end of its lifespan. 
  • Digital printing. Prints are fabulous, but it's important to make sure that clothing is being printed in the right way. Traditional methods of printing use tonnes of water & CO2, as well as toxic dyes to create bright print colors. Digital printing with OEKO-TEX dyes (like we do here, at junk) is a method that uses a digital machine to precisely print the ink which avoids any dye waste, this method also uses barely any water or C02.