Fristads: Algae could be the solution to textile dyeing in the future

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Sustainability and the environment are top of mind for workwear manufacturer Fristads, startup company Mounid and knowledge centre Wargön Innovation. Now they have joined forces through a project that aims to develop a more sustainable alternative to conventional textile dyestuff.

The textile industry is responsible for 4-8 percent of the total climate impact in the world and of that, nearly 80 percent occurs during production. Conventional textile dyeing makes up a quarter of those emissions and the process is also extremely water and chemical intense.

Algae ink – a non-toxic and biodegradable option
The project is based on two groundbreaking Swedish innovations – Imogo Tech’s digital spray technology and Mounid’s algae ink made of colour pigments that are extracted and processed from microalgae – and aims to create a textile dyeing value chain that is radically more resource efficient and resilient than today. The project model decreases water and energy consumption by up to 90 percent and reduces carbon dioxide emissions by the same figure, compared with conventional dyeing methods.

”By creating ink dye from microalgae, we can design garments in a fully closed loop, whereas the industry dyes that are used today compromise that process. Mounid’s method of producing ink dye opens up a whole new way of making dyestuff, which means that the dyestuff definitely can be returned to nature when the product is worn out. Mounid envisions a colourful future for everybody on the planet and that means we can continue to design colourful clothes while maintaining a colourful, healthy natural world.”

Additionally, algae are superior to land-based plant dyes when it comes to generating biomass and storing carbon dioxide, which in turn helps counteract the greenhouse effect.

”We think everybody should have access to high-quality, durable clothes, but the manufacturing process shouldn’t burden the climate more than necessary. Since dyeing causes a significant share of the environmental impact of the production, it is a prioritized area for us as we are working to reduce our environmental imprint. We have already tried more efficient textile dyeing methods, for example when we developed our environmentally declared workwear collection, so when we were asked to join this initiative, we didn’t hesitate.”

Aside from Fristads, other participants in the project include Baux AB, IVL, the Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Martinson, Imogo, Sjuhäradsbygdens Färgeri, Stromtech, Miljösus and Woolpower. The goal is to have at least four prototypes from participating brands ready for market by the end of the project in the fall of 2023.