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.
”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,” said Lisa Rosengren, Head of R&D Raw Material at Fristads.
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.
”This is a smart solution for textile dyeing, which is essential to decrease the climate and environmental impact of the clothing industry. To succeed in taking a radical innovation like this to a broader market, cross-industry collaborations like this one are key,” said Susanne Eriksson, project manager at Wargön Innovation in the Swedish city of Vänersborg.
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.
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.
”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,” said Ida Näslund, founder of Mounid.
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. The project is funded by Vinnova.
About Wargön Innovation
Wargön Innovation enables the production of the low-carbon materials of the future and is a knowledge centre that supports entrepreneurs, businesses and public actors to develop and commercialise new sustainable materials and innovations. Wargön Innovation is a part of Innovatum Science Park and is financed by EU’s regional structural funds program for western Sweden, the region of Västra Götaland, the city of Vänersborg and the inter-municipal association of Fyrbodal.
Mounid creates ink dye using microalgae to provide the textile and fashion industries with completely biodegradable, non-toxic and environmentally friendly dye products. Mounid’s first algae ink is currently under development to become market ready in collaboration with companies in the Swedish textile industry.
Fristads has challenged and driven the development of durable and functional workwear since 1925, always with professional workers in mind and with innovation and sustainability as drivers. Our range of clothing includes classic as well as contemporary garments for a wide range of industries and our garments are made to meet the highest standards when it comes to quality, safety and comfort. Fristads is part of Hultafors Group, which is owned by Investment Latour AB and offers a broad portfolio of products and brands catering to professional craftsmen. Read more about Fristads at www.fristads.com.