Sustainable Blog Edition #16.
When we take a look at our closets, the colorful pieces are often the ones who catch our eye first. They have the power to make us pop and feel confident - but not without a downside. So many of these items are made with synthetic dyes which can have a lot of harmful effects on us and the environment. It is so important for more brands to make the switch to natural dyes, and I’ll tell you why!
The biggest problem that comes with synthetic dyes is that they take a lot of water to be produced and applied to the cloth. Areas (especially in China) that are located near dye factories run out of water. At the same time, the chemical waste of those factories is often just dumped into the rivers. In some places we can see dramatic effects of this; water in those rivers have the color of the dye the factories produce that day. That water is used for farming, so then the soil in which people grow their food becomes toxic. As a result, the rivers become dead, as fish and plants can’t survive the chemicals that the factories dump into the rivers.
A main perk of natural dyes is that they are “local.” They can be made them from plants that grow locally, meaning there’s not a need to ship resources around the planet to get them to the factories which causes pollution and increases a brand's carbon footprint. This local production can also create jobs in the local economy instead of exploiting cheap labor in countries far away. Additionally, it is so important to always have a reliable source of dying materials; the plants have to be healthy so the ecosystem as a whole can be healthy. Producers of natural dyes understand that people are part of nature and are therefore affected directly by how they treat the environment. To produce good colors in a “generative” way, yes quality of your product and profits matter, but the health of your workers and the environment must be a top priority. Remember, the environment is what provides you with the resources to make the dyes! If you harm your environment, then you will cease to have the resources you need for making new dyes and then selling them.
Some of Lazy Hype’s favorite ingredients to use for our natural dyes are coffee, rose clay, blueberries, green tea, raspberries, beets, turmeric, and spinach. Next time you’re looking for a colorful addition to your wardrobe, try to pick places that use natural dyes over synthetic ones:)
Want to learn more? Check out this link.