A good business practise is finding solutions that are not only sustainable, but also that which has the least possible impact, if not zero impact, on the environment. That it is why it is important for any clothing manufacturer to decide whether to go for natural or synthetic products – dyes, for example. When it comes to deciding between natural and synthetic dyes, one needs to enumerate the pros and cons of each of the options. Let’s take a closer look at this in this blog.

Natural Dyes:

Natural dyes, as the name implies, are extracted from animals, insects, plants, animals and other organic resources. Therefore, they are generally perceived to be safe and harmless for the surroundings. Conversely, this isn’t the case all the time.

Take some natural dye sources such as bloodroot and logwood that can prove toxic – Logwood can produce multiple colours, but the active ingredients in it namely Hematoxylin and Hermatein can harm one when it percolates into the body through ingestion, inhalation or skin absorption. Other effects of bloodroot include inflammation and irritation when inhaled.

Though most natural dyes, as seen earlier, are mild and safe, they can be toxic when mordants are added to dyes. Mordants are chemical substances that are added to enable the natural dye stick to materials such as copper, aluminium, chrome and iron. On the flip side, natural dyes are pricey and scare because the production method may consume a considerably large area of land. To top it all, the pigment may erode overtime, leading to sustainability issues.

Synthetic Dyes:

Synthetic dyes are extremely harmful on the environment and to human life because of the chemical compounds that make up these dyes. The general chemical composition in synthetic dyes includes lead, mercury, copper, chromium, toluene, benzene and sodium chloride. It is the continuous exposure to these toxins that produces adverse effects on the human body. Another major issue is water pollution caused when untreated synthetic effluents are dumped into fresh water-bodies.

Making the right choice:

As seen above, both natural and synthetic dyes have their share of pros and cons. As the demand for textile has been growing manufacturers worldwide will have to take some tough decisions on the choice of dyes – one of which is the use of environment-friendly ingredients, which can also eat into their profits. Another popular method has been treating dye effluents using organic bacteria to reduce the impact of water pollution. Whether it is natural or synthetic dyes, the best option is to go for the one which has the lowest impact on the environment and people. A combination of cost-effectiveness and eco-friendly nature is the way forward for a sustainable and eco-conscious business.