Many people assume that because clothing is labeled as organic, the dyes used to color that fabric must be organic as well. This is not the case because truth be told there is no such thing as organic dyes in production manufacturing. When it comes to the various dyes available today, all of them typically fall within one of the following categories whether it be conventional, low-impact or natural.
Why Castleware Baby Uses Fiber-Reactive, Low Impact Dyes
At Castleware Baby we ONLY use low-energy, non-metal, fiber-reactive and low impact dyes, which are safe for babies, toddlers and children because they do not contain toxic chemicals or mordants, which fix the dye to the fabric. These fiber reactive dyes directly bond with the garment fibers rather than remaining as an independent chemical entity within the fiber. This means there is no chemical residue coming into contact with your little one.
Why Fiber-Reactive dyes?
Most apparel is now made in the developing world where environmental regulations are laxly enforced or non-existent. Much of this clothing is dyed using vat and direct dyes—two classes of dyestuffs that pose substantial hazards to both people and the planet.
Fiber-reactive dyes are the superior choice because they produce the same vibrant color palette as conventional dyes but without the use of harmful chemicals and metal compounds. Fiber-reactive dyes are also low-impact because they create less wastewater runoff than with conventional dyeing processes. The dye cycle for fiber-reactive dyes is also shorter, which means less water, salt and chemicals are required. In addition, the high cost of fiber-reactive dyes becomes an advantage for the environment as it is cheaper to reclaim the dye from its waste rather than discharge it all and start from scratch. The water from this process can also be recycled making this the more environmentally-friendly option.
Why We Don’t Use Natural Dyes
Many people ask us why we don't use natural dyes since natural dyes seem like they would be ecologically preferable to their synthetic counterparts. While this does make sense intuitively, as with many environmental questions, the truth is more complicated because natural dyes fall short in many areas.
How Natural Dyes Fall Short
Compared to synthetic dyes, natural dyes must be used in much larger quantities which makes them expensive and impractical for apparel produced in any significant quantity. It only takes a teaspoon or two of synthetic dye to color a pound of fabric while up to three pounds of natural dye is required to color that same amount of fabric.
In addition, switching to natural dyes would also require a large area of farmland to be committed to the production and just like any other crop, much of the quantities produced would not be grown organically or sustainably.
Natural dyes also fade faster and since natural dyes are made from plants, there is surprisingly more of a risk for allergic reactions. Plus, synthetic dyes have little or no toxicity.