The world textile industry is a total of 7% of the world's export industry, and employs 35 million workers globally, so it's not hard to imagine how this industry could also be one of the world's largest polluters. One of the largest issue of the textile industry to the environment is the discharge of chemicals, unmonitored in all aspects of the process that run off into various bodies of water. This is harmful to impoverished 3rd world countries drinking water and to the wildlife that survives off of bodies of water like our oceans, rivers and streams.
Using fibers that are not naturally derived from plant or animal is a large part of chemical pollution of the planet. In 2015, polyester, a synthetic cotton substitute, released around 1.5 trillion pounds of greenhouse gases, This is the equivalent to 185 coal-fried power plants.
But just choosing natural fibers is not enough, the production of cotton also has its setbacks to the environment, which needs to be recognized as well, using only about 3 percent of farmland globally, cotton is responsible for 24 percent of worldwide pesticides. Run off from these pesticides can have harmful effects, by running off into drinking water.
Beyond the production of of the fabric we make our products out of, there additionally is the environmental impact of the synthetic dyes that color our fabrics. It is estimated that over 700,000 tons of dye are produced annually worldwide, and from that 700,000 tons of dye 200,000 tons are lost into our effluents. These chemical dyes are made to last long past detergents, chemicals, bleach and more and subsequently are very hard to be treated at water plants. When these chemicals make there way into, drinking, bathing and farming waters, the chemicals left from our dyes are not biodegradable and have long lasting effects. Beyond the chemical effect, the visual effect of synthetic dyes can drastically effect our environment. Synthetic dye, especially in impoverished countries such as India and China, will cloud local water sources. Beyond being harmful for human drinking and agriculture, the lack of light that is let through kill all water plants, through a lack of there photosynthesis. An example of this happening, in 2011, in northern a china, an illeagal dye dump into the river, completely turned the river red, making it toxic and poison to wildlife and people and making completely unusable for farm crops. Many locals where dangerously ill in result.
How do we address these issues that are being faced by the industrial textile industry? By making our products with Naturally dyed, sustainably made organic fibers.
Organic cotton and hemp is a great substitute for polyester. Organic cotton is grown from non-GMO seeds and see no fungicides,insecticides or pesticides, some of which have known cancer causing and other harmful agents, which could then be washed into our waterways effecting our environment, wildlife and people. Keeping the soil safe helps relieve mono - crop culture and soil erosion. Organic cotton will help alleviate the harmful effects toxic farming.
Substituting synthetic dyes for natural dyes is a great alternative. They use of natural dyes pre dates the birth of christ. We can see dyes though our the history of time, brilliant reds and oranges have been found in toombs dating back to 2600BC. Tyranny Purple made from Mediteranian sea snails was so sought after that it could only be worn by royalty. Indian have built a whole art from of block printing centuries old, from natural dyes. We can see that concept of natural dyes is not a new one. Natural dyes can come from a wide variety of plants, animals and minerals. There is no color unimaginable from natural dyes, which is all the more reason to use them. Natural dyes create a safr working conditions for factory works and no chemical waste in to the our waterways. Natural dyes coming from natural resources make them biodegradable and a much safer alternative.
Mangata proudly supports organic cotton companies such as organic cotton plus, and practices natural dyeing techniques.
Mangata’s mission is to help relieve the stress on our planet and the people living on it by taking a more sustainable, ethical approach to creating home goods products. If you would like to learn more about the textile industry and its environmental impact, we strongly encourage you to check out the sources listed below.