The denim industry has spent close to half a century trying to age new jeans, much to the detriment of the environment and the health of garment workers. Until now, an important solution for this type of desirable effect has been ozone machines, which uses ozone gas to naturally bleach down garments. But Officina+39’s new innovation enables laundries to diversify their options.
The Italian sustainable chemicals company recently debuted Oz-One Powder, a treatment that allows laundries to achieve bleached, distressed or acid-wash looks on garments in an environmentally friendly way that is comparable to ozone. Using conventional machines without water, the Oz-One particles break down indigo and sulphur black dyes, as well as Officina+39’s dischargeable dyestuffs series called Nebudye D, which can be used in nebulization systems like Core by Tonello or Eflow by Jeanologia.
The concept for Oz-One Powder, said Andrea Venier, Officina+39 managing director, was developed while Italy was on lockdown during the first half of the year. Knowing that the denim industry would enter a new world once restrictions were lifted, the company set out to find environmentally friendly and accessible solutions that would help maintain the sustainable course the sector was on prior to the pandemic.
Though Venier doesn’t go as far as to describe Oz-One as being more sustainable than ozone technology (a lifecycle assessment must be conducted first) the ZDHC-certified powder is more sustainable than the traditional ways to achieve denim’s worn-in appearance, he said. Being a chlorine and potassium permanganate-free powder as well as being a waterless process that requires no temperature during application—just machine rotation—are among Oz-One’s sustainable benefits.
The innovation is also cost-accessible to most laundries. That’s a factor that will likely weigh heavily on laundries’ bottom line as see their capacity shrink in the coming months or even years due to the financial fallout of the global pandemic. With Oz-One, Venier said the aim is to serve laundries without the availability of ozone machine, a more ecologically minded technology than chlorine and potassium permanganate.
“As we know, Covid-19 has and will continue to have a severe impact on our sector,” he said. “This product has been designed to work in conventional machinery, so no new investment is required.”
It’s Officina+39’s way to take a proactive approach to help ensure that the denim industry doesn’t walk back on some the progress it has made to reduce its overall environmental footprint. After years of R&D, Venier urges the industry to not lose focus.
“It is hoped that, even in a difficult time due to the global pandemic, a new technology like Oz-One Powder will give to laundries an extra option to offer brands better and more sustainable technology, using the machines at their disposal,” he said.