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India looks at replacing synthetic dyes with natural ones

13
Aug '12
Natural dyeing of yarn
The rising demand for eco-friendly textiles everywhere has strengthened the idea of deriving dyes from natural resources. In fact, natural dyes are found to have a superior aesthetic quality and exhibit better biodegradability, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
 
Dr. Geeta Mahale, Professor & Head, Department of Textiles and Apparel Designing, College of Rural Home Science, University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, spoke to Fibre2fashion on her department’s novel discovery of utilizing natural dyes on fabrics and the reasons that motivated them to conduct their researches and experiments to obtain colors from natural resources. 
 
She says, “Ban on synthetic dyes from Germany and other countries, and global trade liberation are the two vital reasons that have led to the exploration and utilization of the naturally available bio–resources to their optimum level for coloration in textile dyeing units and industries.”
 
“The increased use of chemicals in synthetic dyeing has been listed as barriers for human health and safe environment in recent decades. Since then, the traditional methods of dyeing textiles with natural dyes are being introduced and research is still going on with new techniques of applying natural dyes to the textile materials,” she adds.
 
She mentions that the present generation is trying to revive the art of natural dyeing and scientifically document the same. Over 100 million tons of plant material is needed to produce one million tons of natural dyes in order to meet the world’s requirement. About 250 to 500 million acres of land is required worldwide to meet the production target, which cannot be achieved in near future. However, a country like India with its abundant resources, strong labor force and availability of knowledge has better chances to bag a part of the world’s target.
 
She further talks about the resources from which dyes can be obtained and the types of natural coloring agents available, “The term ‘natural dye’ covers all kinds of dyes that are derived from natural resources such as plants, insects, animals and minerals. Natural dyes are broadly classified into two groups, organic dyes, which are extracted from vegetable and animal sources, as well as mineral dyes, which come from inorganic pigments. The organic dyes are obtained from the roots, shoots, stems, leaves, barks, flowers, berries, seeds and nuts of various plants and also from certain insects and shellfish.”
 
 


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