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Dow Snags Award for ‘Game-Changing’ Sustainable Textile Treatment

The Edison Awards, which honors “game-changing” innovations, recognized Dow Chemical in New York City last week for five breakthrough technologies—a record for the Michigan-based chemical giant.

Dow’s ECOFAST Pure Sustainable Textile Treatment claimed a silver award for helping manifest brighter colors on cotton textiles while decreasing chemical use by up to 90 percent, dye use by 75 percent and water use by 50 percent.

Because cotton modified with ECOFAST Pure acquires a “permanent positive charge,” according to Dow, the resulting fibers have a higher affinity for negatively charged molecules such as dyes. Compared with previous cationic cotton, however, ECOFAST-treated textiles generate no odor. Nor do they require high-temperature water for dyeing, which can cut back on energy use.

ECOFAST Pure is compatible with reactive, direct and acid dyes and can be applied to knit and woven fabrics and garments, including denim, Dow said. Besides addressing “key sustainability challenges” in the textile industry, such as water consumption and chemical burdens, the patented technology also meets ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme standards for less toxic wastewater discharge.

“Dow has leveraged over a century of material science knowledge to help address the performance and sustainability gaps in the textile industry,” Esma Talu, market manager for Dow, said of the treatment last March. “By pretreating textiles with ECOFAST Pure, manufacturers can deliver longer lasting, new generation colors on natural textiles while simultaneously reducing water, dye and energy use.”

The innovation is part of Dow’s efforts to meet its 20205 sustainability goals, which include advancing a circular economy, providing natural capital value and delivering safe materials for a sustainable planet.

“Better manufacturing processes are key to more responsible textile production,” Talu said. “Through products like ECOFAST Pure, Dow is able to drive a more sustainable supply chain that requires less resources to create essential textiles for our society.”