Difference between certified and conventional fabric dyes.
While there is a lot of good information about organic clothing and sustainable fashion in general, talking about less harmful clothing dyes is not so common. So let's find out the difference between GOTS certified and non-certified fabric dyes to help us all together make better choices.
There are an enormous variety of dyes, but they all fall into just a few major categories:
- Conventional Dyes – synthetic, chemical-based dyes used in most conventional clothing today.
- Low-Impact Dyes – synthetic, chemical-based dyes designed to give the same color palette as conventional dyes without using certain chemical and metal compounds.
- Natural Dyes – dyes made from herbs, fruits, teas, clays or other natural materials. These have limited color options.
Most organic clothing manufacturers these days use low-impact dyes. They are substantially better for you and the environment than conventional dyes. They have higher absorption rates into the clothing (more than 70%), which means less chemical and grey water runoff into the environment. They don't contain carcinogens and heavy metals.
The Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS)
The Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) certification independently certifies all stages of the textile production chain. It focuses not only on the dye but also on the end-to-end process and final textile safety certifications. This means that the production process is done more environmentally friendly. The dyes used in the final fabric must be at least as good as low-impact dyes and are tested explicitly for skin safety. These biodegradable/low-impact dyes are safer options for people who already suffer from allergies, recurring illnesses, health issues, and chemical sensitivities.
And last but not least - all wastewater from GOTS certified production is treated, producing clean water to be re-used in the dyehouse. Any solid waste that's left (which is minimal) is collected, put in bags, and sent back to the chemical company, which re-uses most of it to make new dye. Any final residue is safely destroyed by the dye suppliers.
The wellbeing of our nature and our skin goes hand in hand.