Sweater season is upon us! And many of those cozy sweaters are paired up with black jeans this time of year. But, did you know black dyes are some of the most toxic dyes out there? You never want your black jeans to fade or turn a weird brown, right? Well, getting black to stay black takes a lot of effort, AKA added chemicals. With black denim being such a staple in our wardrobe’s, I wanted to explore Tusa Denim’s “Black Is the New Green” dyeing process and find out just how they are doing it.
Textile producers have been developing more and more “green chemistry” alternatives to traditional toxic chemicals that have been proven to have harmful effects on our health. That’s why Tusa Denim chose to partner with Achroma a few years back to start the research and development process.
Together with Achroma, Tusa Denim started using glucose based organic materials to replace their traditional reducing agents in their sulphur dyeing processes. These glucose based agents actually contain nutrients for the soil and dissolve very quickly leaving no residue and healthy food for our soils to soak up.
It sounds great, but I really wanted to understand just how glucose (sugar!) can be used as an alternative! So I asked Yasin from Tusa Denim to help us understand.
YASIN, WHAT EXACTLY ARE THESE GLUCOSE BASED ORGANIC MATERIALS?
They are actually called glucosans.
HOW DOES GLUCOSAN WORK TO REPLICATE REDUCING AGENTS, DYESTUFFS, AND CHEMICALS? CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE PROCESS OF CONVERTING GLUCOSAN INTO USABLE AGENTS?
The main material is glucosan which is easily and quickly diffused inside dye stuff or chemicals once applied. We have found this to be the solution with Archroma and we are taking our dye stuff with glucosan already included inside.
💡ANI POPPING IN HERE! Glucosans are a class of polysaccharide compounds (the most abundant carbohydrate found in food) that can be converted to glucose by hydrolysis (where water breaks a chemical bond). These sugars AKA glucose allow Tusa to replace reducing agents, like sodium sulphide and sodium dithionite combined with caustic soda, to achieve the same dye results without the added chemicals. And as an FYI, sodium dithionite has been known to destroy sulfur dyes due to over-reduction and cannot be recycled from the wastewater generated to be used again in future reduction processes. The subsequent wastewater, as you can imagine, has a negative impact on the environment due to its toxicity and corrosive effects on the effluent drainage systems, as well as affecting the microorganism processes in wastewater treatment. Yikes!
ARE THERE ANY CHARACTER DIFFERENCES IN THE FABRIC?
When using this material for our production, from the first step we get a clean surface and no stiff and rough effects over the surface of the fabric.
As you know with conventional production types, we get stiff and rough effects over the surface of the fabric at 30K – 40K meters. It sometimes has bad visual problems or strachy effects that make everyone uncomfortable. But with our glucose based production we don’t have this problem until 120K – 130K meter passes meaning more usable high quality fabric.
This “Black Is The New Green” dyeing process has helped Tusa deduct 74.5% of the chemicals used in their black denim production, equalling 82.778 kg / per year. At the same time, 75% less water was used during this period saving 0.69m3 of water for each meter of black denim fabric produced (based on 1.5m3 of water saved per hour compared to their previous dyeing method, equalling 10.800m3 of water in one year). Last but not least, they have eliminated 2,55 tonnes of CO2 emission which equals 0,16 kg / per meter as a result of the reduced chemical, energy and water intake throughout their black dye production all verified by the third parties: Interek, SGS, STS.
I’m more of a salty versus sweets kind of gal, but using sugars to create alternatives to their nasty counterparts is pretty sweet. With chemical engineers working behind the scenes and developing mutually beneficial partnerships, what seems like magic can become a reality, and that is what Tusa Denim has proven with their partnership with Achroma.
Learn more about Tusa Denim and their capabilities here and until next time friends, always be curious and STAY DILIGENT! 🥬