Most of what I read in a given day that has to do with politics is not good news. But there is good news to be had. Not long ago I came across some mind-stretching, science-based news:
There are lots of reasons to be excited about this: first, the textile industry is highly resource intensive and notoriously polluting. Currently dyeing a pound of fabric uses 30 to 50 times that weight in water. And that water leaves the dyeing process highly polluted, even after mandated efforts to clean it up.
One source I looked at indicated that nearly 200,000 tons of chemical dyes get washed down the drains of chemical plants in waste water each year, which means that the natural environment around textile plants suffers significantly.*
So a process for dyeing fabric that doesn’t use water, and therefore doesn’t produce highly polluted waste water, is a huge win. It’s a great bonus that what it does use, carbon dioxide, is a waste product we’ve got too much of.
The only cloud on the horizon I see as I contemplate this impressive new technology is this: a great new way to do things is unlikely to be adopted as quickly or as widely as it should be because it will run up against current business interests invested in keeping things the way they are.
Despite the fact that the new dyeing system uses no water and therefore produces no polluted water, and that the process is faster and cheaper, there will be many who will argue against it because the machines required to use the process will cost money, and they’ve already got all this equipment for doing it the old way.
And then there are the suppliers of all the old chemicals, highly motivated to make sure that they can continue to sell them, and well-equipped with rationalizations for why they aren’t responsible for what happens once their products leave their factories.
Let’s not be discouraged, though. Let’s celebrate that scientists and engineers have grappled with a significant problem and solved it. Here’s hoping that it won’t be too long before enough of the deciders in industry and government will champion this better way of doing things.
[Images: pinterest, changemakers.com]