Biodegradable bacteria textile-dyes made from renewable resources of microorganisms. Turning microorganisms and feedstock-waste into beautiful colors.
Textile production is estimated to be responsible for about 20% of global clean water pollution due to dyeing and finishing products. The fashion industry is responsible for an estimated 10% of global carbon-emissions (EU-Parliament). Every year over two billion t-shirts are sold worldwide. These are most harmful to the environment when petrochemical dyes are used. We will use the t-shirt as a metaphor to map our impact concretely and show the impact we can create if we would dye the whole t-shirt industry with bacteria-dyes. We can make a huge impact by showing that these groups of textiles are being replaced by bacteria-based dyes. There are billions of bacteria in the world, some produce color. These bacterial pigments are natural dyes that are suitable for both synthetic and natural fibers. Since natural dyes normally only bind to natural substrates, it is very unique that bacterial dyes are not limited to this, making the possibilities for dyeing endless. In this project, the focus is on further optimization of the bacterial-dye to make it production-ready and scalable for industrial purposes, research feedstock from agriculture waste as nutrients for bacteria grow, research in color change under different growing conditions and pre-treatments of textiles, including optimizing their growth for best color production. The methods and equipment to scale up the bacterial dye are within reach, but the project lacks sufficient funding. Scaling up production will make the dye more attractive and accessible to the market, as well as implementation and knowledge transfer.