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LCA approved spun dyed modal over environmental advantages to conventional

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2014-02-14 16:15:00 – Utrecht

A new study by the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands claims that fabrics made with spun-dyed black modal fabrics from Lenzing have considerable environmental advantages when compared to conventionally dyed black modal fabrics made in Austria.

The research team from Utrecht, which is being led by Krishna Manda and Martin Pate, conducted a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), right from the production of wood (used to make the modal fibres) till the stage of dyed and finished fabric. They found that the overall production of spun-dyed Lenzing Modal ‘Color’ fabric has 50 per cent lower energy use, 60 per cent lower carbon footprint, and requires only 50 per cent of water and has significantly lower (40 – 60 per cent) environmental impacts compared to conventionally dyed fabric. Just considering the wet processing stages, cumulative energy use and carbon footprint is around 80 per cent lower, and water use is 64 per cent lower.

In spun-dyeing, the pigment colour is added to the spinning mass solution and is subsequently incorporated into the fibres so that no pigment is lost; even though the entire body of the fibre is coloured instead of only the surface (as in conventional dyeing). It’s claimed that the total pigment requirements are only 20 per cent of the dye required for conventional dyeing.

Lenzing AG is a company based in Lenzing, Austria whose main business is textile and nonwovens cellulose fibers (such as modal and lyocell) says the improved environmental performance of spun-dyed fabric can contribute to business value creation such as significantly reducing production costs for value chain actors, helps reducing the environmental footprint of end products such as T-shirts, enhances reputation of brands and retailers, and can contribute to mitigating global problems such as climate change and resource scarcity while catering to the rising demand for clothing fuelled by ever growing world population.

A new life-cycle assessment helps compare the overall production of fabrics made with spun-dyed modal to conventionally dyed modal fabrics.

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