The Environmental Impact Of The Textile Industry Environmental Sciences Essay

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In modern consumer economy, the consumer and environment protection has emerged as a result of an ongoing supply of textile goods in domestic and international market, the sophisticated system of information and advertising efforts of various trade and economic leverage to attract large masses of consumers.

Textile efforts of researchers in collaboration with specialists from other fields have achieved organic fibers, which are devoid of existing chemical substances during the procurrement and processing. Obtained by growing organic cotton without or with a minimal amount of chemicals. World classical culture is used 65% cotton pesticides, herbicides 20%, 14% desfoliante and growth regulators, 1% fungicides and other toxic products. But organic cotton is obtained in small quantities but creates environmental concerns in the deterioration of the premises for future development. For 2003 it is estimated that his share will be 1% of world production of cotton. The organic cotton comes from small producers and often is subject to special projects such as GTZ in Germany, Egypt Sekem, Alanatura in Austria and Germany. Organic cotton growers must enroll in a recognized certification body to comply with specifications (European standards 2092/1991), do not use synthetic fertilizers and insecticides, and after three years from the last crop will allow for Eco.

Naturally colored cotton. After lengthy research programs started since 1982 in the U.S. and Israel have been obtained naturally colored cotton in reddish brown to brown colors brown, green and olive green. The fibers are marketed under the name Fox Fibres and Top Cot and their characteristics are presented in Table 1.

Company producing brown cotton fibers Fox received patent for fire resistance characteristics fits in flamability safety standards. Textile products of these fibers are used for furniture fabrics, linen and clothing. Using colored cotton leads to savings of up 38% to production costs because it eliminates the costs incurred with finishing it, but naturally colored cotton cost is higher than the classic. Research professionals are moving in the future to improve the quality of the fiber [2].

Table 1Types naturally colored cotton fibers Fox



Variety cotton

natural coloring




Coyote Fox Fiber



Fiber length 23-27 mm

Tenacity fiber 22 gf / tex

Flame Resistance


Buffalo Fox Fiber


Higher mechanical strength

Flame resistance


New Brown

Light brown red

Flame resistance


Green Fox Fiber


Length 23-27mm


Palo Green Fox Fiber


Length 23-27mm


New Green


Better mechanical strength

Provides luster

Table 2World production of organic cotton

   Country of production

Output, tons

   United States of America









        Senegal, China, Brazil













Eriotex is a new organic fiber made by Finnish company Oy Kultarturve derived from plants, marsh cotton. Fibers obtained are warmer than wool, absorbent, has retardant, anti-allergic and anti-static properties. Cotton, wool, linen or 100% is used for suits, coats, knitwear, sports articles, furniture fabrics, blankets, wallpaper, etc. French fashion houses JeanCharles of Castelbajac, Chloé use this fiber fabrics.

Biowool organic wool fiber is made by the company Biotex produced by clean technology bearing the same name of the company and not cause any allergic reactions. Biowool raw fibers are selected from the Provence Alpes region, considered an European natural reservation. Sheep farmers in this area continue the XIII century old traditions using natural pasture without fertilizer and pesticides. Waves of wool are subject to stringent laboratory controls and only then processed. Washing and cleaning technologies of vegetable scraps using only soap solution eliminating chemicals (detergents, chlorine, sulfuric acid) used in conventional technologies and also to reduce high temperatures. Substances resulting from the washing process are processed in the form of organic fertilizers. Dyeing fiber technology is based on Graftex which dye molecules are anchored in the fiber at 80 ° C maintaining very well the original characteristics of the fiber. Biowool fiber absorbs color at 100% compared to conventional technology which is 75% between absorption and thereby not waste pollute the environment painting. Biowool fiber properties are very good in terms of efficiency, namely:are voluminous, regulates body temperature, are as fine as merino and have a high resistance.

Organic hemp. European markets for organic products are sold textile hemp grown on land with very small amounts of fertilizers and pesticides, ennobled by cottonizing process. The products are lightweight, hygienic and comfortable.

Pineapple fibers are organic fibers made of pineapple fruit. Fibrous material has a more sophisticated and uses less than flax.

Alginate fibers are made from brown algae, naturally renewed. They are made from biodegradable organic polymers by treating them according to content manuronic and gluconic acids, the basic components of copolymers alginates. Alginate fibers processed by interwoven process are used as dressings in the health sector since the advantage of creating a healing field power absorption (20 times their weight) and moist healing environment which corresponds to the new medical approaches for treatment .

Dibutirilchitină chitin fibers and fiber-DBCH are bioactive. Chitin is a natural polysaccharide with excellent bioactive properties insoluble in common solvents. Chemical modification of chitin can improve solubility. Some derivatives are known co solubility:

acetilato chitin (chitosan) with different degrees of acetylation soluble in solutions of organic acids; ortocarboxyimethilchitină which is soluble in water, soluble in formic acid acetilchitină concentrated substitution with other compounds in organic solubility solvents.

DBCH is derived from chitin in the presence of perchloric acid as catalyst and heterogeneous conditions dissolved in acetone, alcohol, dimethylformamide and may make fibers for medical microspherule applications [3].

2. Natural fibers used in rural areas

These natural fibers are rarely used in industrial-scale realization of textiles. They are derived from plant fibers, headpiece domestic or wild animals, secretions of insects. Some of these may represent certain geographical areas and rural areas, a reliable, steady textile raw materials, to obtain items of all day clothing, or special purpose (costumes, costumes and decorations to secular and religious celebrations), but also a source of income by producing and selling handmade items. Due to an accumulation of factors such as restricted area of distribution of fiber and features pertaining to how to obtain the fiber, etc. characteristics, these natural fibers are rarely used in the textiles, they are not dedicated processing streams. They could exceed the area of the village, when promoted as handicraft articles or in some fashion collections.

Wild silk: there are two types of silk, silk cultivation or domestic and wild silk. One non-wild silk cocoon comes slightly differently from domestic silk cocoon. This cocoon is darker, smaller and are often difficult to draw filaments of the cocoon. Wild silk, drawn from the cocoon, is used only for simple fabrics, often for articles of fashion. While domestic silk worm which produces is totally dependent on man, because it can not fly, or even make a jump, wild silk producing larvae can survive alone in nature.

Pineapple fiber: pineapple fiber is extracted from the leaves of pineapple. Garments made from pineapple fibers is common in countries in South America. Evidence of use of these fibers and the descriptions are made by the first Europeans arrived in the realm of the ocean, with hundreds of years ago. Pineapple fibers were considered a luxury, which were woven and tailored clothes for rich people only.

Banana fibers: from banana fruit is recovered both known and strain, the fiber is extracted. They are used for making textile products used in various interior of the house and some clothing. Banana fiber extraction is a laborious process. Once harvested bananas, cut tree becomes useless and is to be replaced with another. Banana trunk is cut, peeled, beaten with sticks and then boiled with a mixture of ash. The next step is extracting and sorting the resulting fibers in the paste, then washed in several steps, with clean water. Fibers thus obtained are dried and combed, and then follow the trail of a manufacturing process, like other spun yarns [4].

3. Identification of chemicals used in processing operations, knowledge about their quality

There are five elements stated by the ISO 14001 standard: commitment and policy related to environmental aspects, planning, implementation, measurement (evaluation) and continual improvement.

Textile industry is an important pollution factor. Textile processing involves the manufacturing of yarns/threads, the production of fabrics by weaving or knitting, and dyeing/finishing of that fabric. These fabrics are transformed into clothing and the humid - thermal treatments of final products. Most of these industrial processes use chemical agents and deliver technological waste. The most dangerous stages are bleaching, dyeing and finishing processes.

New technologies for obtaining and processing of fabrics are made by chemical substances incorporated into textile products may have harmful effects on the body and residues removed may affect the environment. There are many market introduction and traffic regulations of chemicals used in textile field, whose purpose is human and environment protection from possible risks in the short or long. Necessary to protect consumers following:

identify chemical substances used in production and processing;

making tolerance before marketing textiles on the market by specialized laboratories accredited for this purpose;

appropriated labeling of textiles so that the consumer can choose knowingly everything about textile.

It is estimated that 10 - 15 % of the dye is lost in the effluents during the dyeing process. In addition to their visual effect many dyes are toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic; therefore the removal of these pollutants from wastewater is an important step in treatment of textile effluent before discharging in the natural environment. Several treatment methods are currently used for dye removal: coagulation / flocculation, membrane processes, photolysis, adsorption using activated carbon, chemical oxidation, biological treatment, but many of them are expensive or generate bulky sludge.

Removal of certain classes of dyes by coagulation - flocculation is an effective and economical method, especially when it preceeds the biological or adsorptive treatment of concentrated wastewaters, because it reduces the bulk of the organic load and thus reduces the overall treatment cost; efficiency depends on the chemical structure of dyes, on the coagulant type and dosage and on the water pH. Metal - polysilicate coagulants have superior efficiency over the conventional ones, for the treatment of dye - containing wastewater.

The decolourization of textile wastewater using adsorption is one of the most efficient and inexpensive method. Peat moss is an inexpensive and available natural material, having as main components cellulose, lignin and humic and fulvic acids. Peat moss has a very high surface area and contains the polar functional groups and the capacity to removal heavy metals. Independently from the nature or the character of the dyestuff, through the process of ionic change, all ionic dyes can be removed practically completely from used waters. The most efficient ionic change in relation with a cationite mild acid ionic changer, is at pH=6,3.

Technology changes is related to the concept "clean manufacturing". Modifying the existent technology is very important when the company must make eco - balance reports related to the ratio input/output energy and the ratio between raw materials / products and waste. That is why recycling became of interest.

Manufacturers must use those chemicals that are less dangerous. However some products with certain danger level, but high technological qualities will be used through advanced technologies capable of avoiding risks. In textile finishing operations assessing ecological products are achieved by fixing the degree of fiber and degree of biodegradability. Most colors rises environmental and toxicological problems. The toxicity means the property to bring harm, once in or on the body and is an essential argument in assessing the impact that it has on the environment. Toxicity can be acute, subchronic (within up to 90 days) and chronic or carcinogenic effects relating to exposure of more than three months.

Natural dyes - can be classified from the origin in: originating from plants, originating from animals and of mineral origin. The plant natural dyes are the most important. Many plants have been identified as potentially rich in natural dye contents, various parts of plants like roots, stems, leaves, fruits and seeds may contain coloring matter which can be exploited. The major representatives of this category are:

Weld, the most lightfast of the yellow dyes. The dye is extacted from the flowers and the stalks of the plant and is used to dye wool and silk.

Quercitron, which is a darker yellow dye than weld; is used to dye wool, silk cotton, bast. It can be found in sunflowers, apple tree bark, chrysanthemums, onion skins.

Morin, found in Artocarpus species, is used to dye wool, silk cotton, bast and leaf fibers. The use of iron mordents changes the color to green.

Marigold is a plant grown all over the world and is readily available in sustainable quantities.

Barberry, bush that grows in India, Nepal, North America, Europe; has the poorest lightfast rating of the flavonoid yellows. The dye is extracted from the bark, stems and root of the bush.

Madder is found in the root of Rubia tinctoria, a plant indigenous to China, S.E. Asia, India, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan and in parts of Europe. Madder has a special affinity for cellulose fibers.

Indigo grows all over the world.

Natural dyes obtained from animals are fewer:

Cochineal, a strong red dye - crimson red to fuchsia, is produced by insects, is commercially available and sustainable. The extract is exported from Peru and the Canary Islands and the raw material from Peru, Mexico and Argentina.

Lac, not as strong a red dye as cochineal, does not dye cotton, but it will dye bast and leaf fibers to deep shades; it is obtained from insects that are collected from the branches of trees and is known as siclac before extraction. Commercial lac are available from China, Japan and India.

Shellfish dyes are naturally occurring indigoids: purpura and murex; was extracted from a small gastropod mollusk and its very expensive.

Natural dyes of mineral origin are Prussian blue, Red ochre and Ultramarine Blue, Ocher is a dye obtained from an impure earthy ore of iron or ferruginous clay, usually red - hematite, or yellow - limonite.

Advantages of natural dyes: use of renewable resources, lack of toxicity during production and reduction of work hazard, full biodegradation and reduction of the environmental impact, lack of toxicity of the end products.

Disadvantages: insufficient reproduction, the solidity often insufficient, not standard working, large quantities of raw material to obtain the same depth of color, scarce brilliancy of hue, narrow range of shades, limited success in coloration of synthetic fibers, many natural dyes need application with a mordant to secure sufficient wash and light fastness and to give good build - up.

Some research aim to determine how natural dyes can be produced and used in sustainable and efficient processes. Modern cultivation methods of producing woad, weld, golden rod and madder have been already established. In order to pass from the craft stage to industrial stage, some problems have to be solved in what regards the application of the natural dyes. The main technological problems are the yield, the solidity and the reproducibility of the natural dyes. It has been established that using citric acid to neutralize the extract of the safflower flowers, helps the separation of carthamin, while using ascorbic acid the safflomine dye separation is favored [3]. The industrial use of natural dyes poses some problems, such as the large surface needed for the culture of the plants that will offer these dyes. Most natural dyes require a mordant, which are metallic salts of aluminium, iron, chromium, copper and others, for ensuring the reasonable fastness of the colour to sunlight and washing and they are mixtures of two or more unitary dyes .

4. Implementation of new features and special textiles.

In order to protect environment and consumers, researchers have developed new materials with superior properties, textiles which meet the conditions of a modern economy.

Functional agro environmental protection.

In Germany, according to a research project, were made biodegradable agro textiles that ensure environmental protection, namely to reduce the problems of forests and plant pollution with heavy metals, soil acidification, cold, humidity and lack of nutrients. Layers were used biodegradable cellulose fibers of flax and hemp, and the intermediate spaces were introduced minerals, nutrients and active specific binders were reinforced biodegradable or sewing process.

Materials of chemical fiber-PLA polylactide polymer.

The English company Cargil Dow Polymers obtained polylactide polymers made from grain through Nature Work processes that can tab textile. These fibers can be used 100% or blended with wool, silk and cotton for making clothes, fabrics, furniture, coverings soil, technical articles, etc. Quality of their performance and reduced costs expected to be used for sportswear.

Biotextiles are biologically active fibrous materials made by incorporation of bioactive agents such spinning processes, by impregnation or by chemical modification of textile materials followed by incorporation of bioactive agents. Biotextiles are named and classified according to the incorporated substances and their applications: anesthezics, antimicrobial, anticancer, hemostatic, anti-virus, enzymes, imunoactive and X - Ray active biotextiles. These textiles are used for special clothing and medical sectorl health protection role. In use, duration and rate of drug release can be controlled and minimal toxicity compared with standard methods of exposure to drug action [4].

Research regarding the yarns and knitted fabrics with microcapsules and thermo regulating properties: comfort depends on sensorial feeling which results from the contact of apparel worn and the skin, as well as on physiological feelings caused by the clothing's ability to ensure required heat protection, the possibility to lead out water vapors and carbon dioxide from the skin's surface, and to protect the skin against the noxious activity of the environment. Existence of the yarns with microcapsules and the technical possibilities of making knitted fabrics with this yarns, give that products thermo regulating properties [5].

Textile supports for the development of materials with aroma therapeutic characteristics: the natural fibers prove to be excellent supports for medical and cosmetics items, due to their specific properties: good water and physiological fluids absorption characteristics, softness, vapours permeability. Are many study with the development of materials with aroma-therapeutical features by covering different types of woven and knitted fabrics with biologically active compounds. The presence of the biologically active compound was confirmed through colour and smell qualitative tests. The antimicrobial activity of the resulting material was tested using gram positive bacteria, as well as gram negative bacteria [5].

The composite nonwovens are mainly used for sanitary and hygiene products.

Superabsorbent fibers, symbolized SAPs are polymers containing acid crosslinking links (usually acrylic acid) sodium salt form to absorb aqueous fluids and can retain them under some pressure. 65g absorbance is 0.9% NaCI saline per gram of polymer, with a 85% retention of CO pressure conditions of 3450 Pa in a few minutes of contact and therefore the market for hygiene plays an significant place. Their use is widespread for sports articles market as it provides comfort and perspiration absorptions due to exchange with the external environment. In recent years they are used to delivery, packaging, storage and transport as they provide special protection to products and thus contribute to the security of goods throughout the logistics flow [2].

Nanofibrillar PVC membranes with filtering properties, are advantages: small fiber diameter, extremely porous and has a high specific surface area, exhibiting a better reactivity. PVC nanofibers with silver ion nanoparticles have antimicrobial activity for filtering and purification. Silver, a non - toxic metal with antimicrobial properties, was extensively studied in various fields like antimicrobial filters, air filtration, water disinfection, sensors, chemical and gas filtration, wound dressing material, protective cloth, etc. Polymeric nanofibres can be made using the electrospinning process. Electrospinning uses an electric field to draw a polymer solution from the tip of a capillary to a collector. A voltage is applied to the polymer solution, which causes a jet of the solution to be drawn toward a grounded collector. The fine jets dry to form polymeric fibers, which can be collected on a web. Nanofibers provide dramatic increases in filtration efficiency at relatively small decreases in permeability [3].

5. Conclusions

The eco offensive initiated recently, in the whole world has made strong imprint on the structure of textile production, it was made organic natural fibers: organic cotton, naturally colored cotton and other natural fibers.

Increasing concern of humanity for environmental damage creates in the future the potential to develop organic cotton crop. The same trend can support not only for cotton, but for all types of fibers. However, progress will be significant as long as it will enhance the studies and research to improve yields of cotton growing.

The occasion of launching collections of yarns or the major collections of international fashion houses, there was still stronger tendency to use natural organic materials. Using naturally colored cotton leads to savings of up to 38% on production costs.

Importantly, manufacturing technologies, especially textiles and their finishing, take place as less hazardous processes and resulting waste is properly managed.

The benefits resulting from the environmental regulations: protection of environmental, improved economic efficiency, avoiding potential fines and civil and/or criminal penalties, establishment of a competitive market advantage, a better image to the public; will always prevail over the financial and human efforts. We do not only responsible for our environment but also for what we leave legacy for future generations.