Why Natural Dyes? cover

Why Natural Dyes?

By


What do the clothes we wear have to do with ocean pollution? More than you think...
People have made and used natural dyes using locally available plant, mineral and even insect sources for thousands of years. Today, choosing natural dyes over the chemical alternative is more important than ever.
Here are four compelling reasons to choose natural dyes:


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars on 1 review




NoteStream NoteStream

NoteStreams are readable online but they’re even better in the free App!

The NoteStream™ app is for learning about things that interest you: from music to history, to classic literature or cocktails. NoteStreams are truly easy to read on your smartphone—so you can learn more about the world around you and start a fresh conversation.

For a list of all authors on NoteStream, click here.




Read the NoteStream below, or download the app and read it on the go!

Save to App


 Natural Dyes

Image courtesy The Ecology Center

Natural Dyes

What do the clothes we wear have to do with ocean pollution? More than you think...

People have made and used natural dyes using locally available plant, mineral and even insect sources for thousands of years. Today, choosing natural dyes over the chemical alternative is more important than ever.

Here are four compelling reasons to choose natural dyes:

Artisanal + Local

Residuals from the textile manufacturing and dyeing process are of the most toxic industrial products that filter into our oceans.

Mass production output is more than our earth can handle. The clothes we consume require tons of water that cannot be recycled into the earth, thus resulting in ocean and waterway contamination.

Choosing to purchase clothing colored with natural dyes is a positive solution to the challenge of toxic runoff. In most cases, water from a natural dye vat can be neutralized with natural white vinegar, which is safe to pour down the drain or into a garden.

Supporting Earth

Image © iStock

Supporting Earth

By supporting local and artisanal products dyed with natural dyes, we also support a clean Earth.

Plants Produce No Waste

Using plants that grow abundantly in our own ecosystem bypasses the entire production process it takes to make synthetic dyes.

This helps to save water and omit unnecessary pollutants. In addition to avoiding large-scale production, if we choose to rally behind natural dyes, we also stand in support of product that can be cycled back to the earth.

Indigo Plant

Indigo Plant

Image by Saimon2000bd, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Safe and Non-Toxic

Natural dyes along with food grade mordants such as pickling alum or sea salt are non-toxic to work with (not for ingestion).

One can confidently simmer down dye plants into a tea without fear of inhaling toxins (not to say one should!) Anything in large quantity can be harmful, but respectively, dye plants come from the earth and can be handled and processed without fear of contamination.

Dyed by Nature

Dyed by Nature

Image © iStock

Connecting to Nature Builds Appreciation

One of the most remarkable aspects of working with natural dyes is the enlightening experience one receives from direct connection with nature.

Through the experience of growing, harvesting, chopping plants and preparing a dye vat, we build a much deeper appreciation for where color comes from. When we invest time and energy into the process, we receive on the other end, gaining a more profound respect for our interconnectedness with the planet.

Rainbow Options

Rainbow Options

Image by barbndc, (CC BY 2.0)

Tips

The Ecology Center offers Natural Dyes workshops that teach plant identification, extraction techniques, and pattern dyeing.

We also have a working dye garden on site with local plants.

View our calendar for a full schedule of upcoming workshops:TheEcologyCenter.org/calendar.