The company on Monday established Color on Demand, a multiphased system with a clear aim to deliver the world’s first scalable zero wastewater cotton dyeing system. Ralph Lauren Corp. noted that every year, trillions of liters of water are used for fabric dyeing, generating around 20 percent of the world’s wastewater. This untreated wastewater is highly polluting and traditionally required rigorous, lengthy and costly treatment to make the water reusable.
Designed to help address water scarcity and pollution caused by cotton dyeing, Color on Demand is a system composed of technologies that enable the recycling and reuse of all water from the dyeing process. Color on Demand also dramatically reduces the amount of chemicals, dye, time and energy used in the cotton dyeing process.
In addition, the platform provides a more efficient and sustainable way to color cotton at any point in product manufacturing, rather than at the outset. This will enable significantly shorter lead times for making product color decisions.
“Traditional color dyeing is one of the most polluting practices in our industry and as a global brand, we recognized the need to create a scalable solution,” said Halide Alagöz, chief product and sustainability officer at Ralph Lauren. “Color on Demand significantly reduces the environmental impact of dyeing cotton and as an added benefit, will enable us to better balance inventory and meet personalized consumer demands faster than ever before.”
To implement its groundbreaking approach, Ralph Lauren brought together four leading innovators in their respective fields–Dow, a leader in materials science; Jeanologia, a pioneer in sustainable solutions for garment and fabric finishing, with high expertise in garment dyeing and close loop water treatment systems; Huntsman Textile Effects, a global chemicals company specializing in textile dyes and chemicals, and Corob, a global technology specialist in dispensing and mixing solutions, to reimagine each stage of the coloring process and join this shared mission to create a more sustainable and efficient system for cotton dyeing.
As part of the first phase of Color on Demand, Ralph Lauren optimized the use of Ecofast Pure Sustainable Textile Treatment, a pre-treatment solution developed by Dow for cotton textiles. When used with existing dyeing equipment, it enables the use of up to 40 percent less water, 85 percent fewer chemicals, 90 percent less energy and a 60 percent reduction in carbon footprint compared with traditional cotton dyeing processes. Ralph Lauren is integrating this process into its supply chain and will launch product using this technology later this year.
Color on Demand is another significant step in Ralph Lauren’s journey to address its environmental footprint, which includes eliminating hazardous chemical use in its supply chain and reducing water use across its operations and value chain by 2025.