Reducing Chemicals in Textile Processing

Enzymes are used in textile processing for finishing of fabrics and garments. Starch-splitting enzymes (alpha-amylases) have replaced harsh chemicals in the desizing process due to their high efficiency and minimal harmful effects on the fabric. Cellulase is used for bio-stoning of denim in place of the traditional stonewashing processes.

Furthermore, enzymes can enable the optimization of textile processing in unique ways.  Conventionally, pre-treatment and dyeing are carried out in three steps: bleach clean-up, bio-blasting and dyeing. These steps can be combined into one using an enzyme product blend, containing a catalase and a neutral cellulase in dyeing and finishing. By combining step and reduce temperatures, enzymes save water and energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring a high-quality product.

Enzymes can extend the life of clothing

WRAP, the organization that leads the UK’s Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP), has pointed to extending the useful life of clothes as an important way to reduce the environmental impact of clothing (WRAP 2012). Cellulases, the enzymes used for Biopolishing, remove the fiber ends protruding from the surface of the yarn and thereby avoid the creation of ‘pills’, even after 30 washes. This results in a clean surface which retains its original colour and knit structure better, plus has a softer and smoother long-term handle.

Examples of how we are applying enzyme technology to solve sustainability challenges: