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AirDye® technology manages the application of color to

textiles without the use of water. It is today’s sustainable
alternative to traditional dyeing and decorating processes.

­WHY FOR THE WORLD? the strictest standards of global

AirDye® technology from Colorep®, Inc., responsibility.
a California-based sustainable technol- •  Doe­s not use boilers, screen printing
ogy company, is a solution our planet machines, drying ovens, or cleaning
needs today and for many tomorrows. and scouring chemicals, thereby
eliminating major sources of pollution.
AirDye® technology: •  Eliminates water in the color application
•  Does not pollute water in the color step and simplifies the process, creating

® application process. By using air instead revolutionary possibilities of new

CREATES NEW DESIGN of water to convey dye, no hazardous

waste is emitted and no water is
industry and employment in unfarmable,
arid regions of the world.
CAPABILITIES: wasted. •  Gives consumers a way to choose
•  Greatly reduces energy requirements, style and sustainability at a realistic
Dye Contrast thereby lowering costs and satisfying price at the point of purchase, thereby
initiating world change.



Synthetic Textile
(Material production
Dye Squared is out of scope)


Natural Gas


Print 2 Dye AirDye® AirDye®

Colored Synthetic
Dye Concentrate Textile
Dye Preparation Donor Media Placement
Production (use and end-of-life
Preparation Process
is out of scope)

Solvent Production

Solvent Recycle

Kraft Paper
Print 2 Print Production

Dye Transfer
Waste Processing
or Disposal

2 AirDye ® – Life Cycle Assessment

WHY FOR BUSINESS? textiles, but this process has limited causing horrific damage. What’s more,
Business today must achieve high quality, application. traditional dyeing uses an astonishing
lower costs, be competitive, and meet amount of water. Amounts vary, but
customer demand for environmentally AirDye® technology produces superior coloring fabric can take anywhere from
responsible products that are attractive. results compared to sublimation printing 56 to 600 times the weight of the fabric
and conventio­nal dyeing, but that is just in water (that’s 7 to 75 gallons of water
AirDye® technology: the beginning of its advantages. AirDye® per pound of fabric). Traditional dyeing
•  Is easy to specify, reduces cost, technology also reduces detrimental pollutes, and it continues to consume
offers beauty and quality, and reduces impacts on the environment. And, because vast amounts of the world’s increasingly
environmental impact. the dye is in the fiber rather than on the scarce supply of fresh water.
•  Offers style without sacrifice. There fiber, bleach and cleaning agents can’t
is no dye-lot variation, no post-dye get to it; so colors look richer and last The dyeing of synthetic textiles consumes
washing or treatments, and no longer. The result is more beautiful 2.4 trillion gallons of water a year,
minimum quantity. colors and maximum color durability, enough to fill 3,700,000 Olympic-sized
• Offers exciting new options: with substantially less water and swimming pools. It also uses more than
-  Dye different colors on opposite sides discharged chemicals. 2.8 trillion megajoules of energy per year,
of fabric. enough to power more than 12 percent
-  Dye fabric a solid color. Dyeing – Toxic from the start. of the homes in the United States each
-  Dye one side a solid color and the Until AirDye®. year. Finally, textile dyeing produces 568
opposite side a print. Four thousand years ago man used million metric tons of greenhouse gases
-  Dye one side of fabric with a print water to carry dye to a piece of fabric. (GHG) annually, more than 94 million
and the opposite side with another Early water pollution was born. Since passenger vehicles emit each year.
print. then, more and more chemicals have
-  Dye opposite sides of fabric with been added to color and treat fabric, AirDye® technology.
the same print.­­ producing ongoing and ever-worsening Answer to a 4,000-year-old problem.
water pollution. AirDye® technology is a revolutionary
HOW DOES IT WORK? new way to carry dye to fabric and other
Conventional dyeing, such as vat dyeing In the mid-twentieth century, new fibers
or cationic dyeing, can produce visually such as nylon and polyester were devel-
acceptable results. On the down side, it oped. These new “high tech” fibers were
The result is luxuriously brilliant color
uses polluting chemicals, a huge amount difficult to dye, so even more chemicals
and a world-changing positive impact on
of precious water, and does not provide were added to water baths to carry the
our planet’s energy and water shortage.
permanent coloration. Sublimation print- dyes. These chemicals often ended up in
ing has been used to decorate synthetic the world’s lakes, rivers, and oceans,

Standard Sublimation AirDye® Controlled Penetration
The dye does not penetrate the fibers Using our proprietary Sibius™ Dyes,
but rather sits on top where it can easily penetration is deeper. Colors are richer
wear off. White fiber shows after cutting and colorfastness is better. Penetration
or needle penetration. control is used with Dye Contrast, Print
2 Dye, and Print to Print products.

Conventional Dyes AirDye® Complete Penetration

After treatment in an aqueous dye-bath AirDye® is so advanced that it colors not
and post-dye washing, the fibers show only the yarn but also thousands of
complete dye penetration. Colorfastness filaments in each piece of yarn, yielding
and adherence is low to moderate rich, brilliant colors. Complete penetration
when exposed to cleaning agents. is used with Dye Squared products.

AirDye ® – Life Cycle Assessment 3

LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT polyester at three different fabric weights
FIGURE 2 – THE LCA PROCESS Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies (3.5 oz/m2, 7.75 oz/m2, and 12 oz/m2).
involve the collection, assessment, and
Data gathered for this study represents
interpretation of data from an environ-
Goal and scope operations at Colorep’s facilities during
mental perspective over a product’s life
definition 2006. The purpose of the project was to
cycle (production, use, and end-of-life).
assess the environmental performance
Life Cycle of Colorep’s AirDye® process relative to
Interpretation Studies can evaluate:
Inventory (LCI) traditional color application processes.
• the entire product life cycle, often
The analysis examined how the various
referred to as cradle-to-grave or cradle-
Life Cycle Impact aspects of the process contribute to
to-cradle studies, or
Assessment (LCIA) environmental inputs and outputs such
• parts of a product life cycle, referred to
as water and energy, as well as to indica-
as cradle-to-gate or gate-to-gate studies.
tors such as greenhouse gas production,
The LCA conducted to create the data from a cradle-to-grave perspective. The
contained in this Environmental Profile results of the study have been critically
encompasses the AirDye® process from reviewed according to the requirements
production of raw materials (dye, paper, of ISO 14040 for studies that will be
solvent, and so on) to the preparation publicly communicated. The LCA generated
of dye-donor and the final coloration data will be used to improve the AirDye®
process. It also includes the end-of-life process as it is developed and refined.
of the dye-donor paper. Because AirDye®
is intended to replace traditional color LIFE CYCLE INVENTORY
application processes, the production, The Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) analyzes
use, and end-of-life phases of the finished multiple environmental aspects of the
fabric itself were not included. inputs and outputs of a product system.
Depending on the goal and scope
The ISO 14040 series of standards cover definition, data may be collected first-hand
the methodological steps for conducting from measurements and estimates of
an LCA. The AirDye® LCA studies follow key activities, or will be based on
the 14040 methodology, as shown at a information drawn from existing LCA
macro level in Figure 2. databases. For this LCA, the majority
of inventory data was collected on-site
GOALS AND SCOPE and modeled using GaBi 4.3™ LCA soft-
This project included a complete cradle- ware. Data included or excluded from
to-gate LCA study for the coloration of a the study is dependent on the system
linear meter of polyester fabric, consistent boundaries identified during the goal
with ISO 14040 series LCA standards.1 and scope definition. The LCA system
The functional unit for the transfer of boundaries for the study are described
color to standard 62-inch-wide (roll form) in Table 1 and Figure 3.
polyester fabric was 1,000 kg of colored

ISO 14040 (2006). Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Principles and framework. International Organization
for Standardization, Geneva.
ISO 14044 (2006). Environmental management – Life cycle assessment – Requirements and guidelines management environmental.
4 AirDye ® – Life Cycle Assessment International Organization for Standardization, Geneva.
A Sensitivity Analysis was performed colored polyester fabric at three different complete LCI associated to the coloration
to determine the effects of increases in fabric weights, using AirDye® Donor gen- of fabrics across ten European facilities
process efficiency for the traditional erated at Colorep’s plant (Transprint™) in (five in Italy and five in Belgium) in 2002.
method with respect to water and energy Harrisonburg, VA. This was the only source of publicly
use. The effect of variability in paper available, detailed, quantitative life cycle
weight was also investigated. The results Comparative data for this study was data that could be located. Other public
of the Sensitivity Analysis did not change generated by ENEA (Italian National data on fabric coloration processes, such
the conclusions of the study, even when Agency for New Technologies, Energy, and as those published by the World Bank 4
a “worst case” assessment was per- the Environment) as part of the “Towards and the State of California 5, suggest that
formed. The sections on the following Effluent Zero” project 2, and is also refer- global averages for water and energy use
pages provide an overview of the LCIA enced in EU Best Practice documents are much higher than the values used for
results for the production of 1,000 kg of for textile coloration 3. It represents the the purposes of this comparative study.

Included Excluded

Raw materials required for the Capital equipment and maintenance

color application process*
Overhead (heating, lighting) of manufacturing
Processing of materials in the facilities when easily differentiated
production of AirDye® Donor
Human labor
Internal recycling loops of dye
and solvent materials during Synthetic textile manufacture and scouring
coloring process processes

Energy production* Internal transportation of materials

Donor paper end-of-life Transportation of raw and processed materials

to Colorep®
Transportation of finished AirDye® Donor
Use of fabric
Fabric end-of-life

*LCI data was included for background and process materials from the GaBi 4.3™ software database.


Production of
Pigments and Dyes
Waste and Emissions:
• Carbon Dioxide
• Methane
Production of Ancillary • Nitrogen
Materials: • Other
Synthetic Textile • Kraft paper Colored
(production not included) • Solvents Synthetic Textile
• Electroplating chemicals
Reusable, Recyclable,
Placement and Reclaimed Materials
Process • Spent paper
Production of energy: • Solvent bottoms
• Electricity • Dye waste
• Natural gas


Information on the ENEA “Towards Effluent Zero” (TOWEFO) study is available at: http://spring.bologna.enea.it/towefo/results_public_area/result_public_area.htm
European Union Reference Document on Best Available Techniques for the Textiles Industry; Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC), 2003. Available at: http://eippcb.jrc.ec.europa.eu/
Pollution Prevention and Abatement Handbook; Word Bank Group, 1998.
Analysis of the Potential Benefits of Recycled Water Use in Dye Houses; Prepared for the Central Basin Municipal Water District
and the State of California Department of Water Resources; 2005. AirDye ® – Life Cycle Assessment 5
LCIA is used to determine the
contribution of the LCI information to
the potential environmental impact it
represents. Estimates for potential Primary Energy Demand A measure of the total amount of primary energy
environmental impacts are organized extracted from the earth, including natural gas, electricity,
and other sources, taking into account the efficiency of
under four main impact categories electric power and heating processes.
(shown to the right in Table 2).
Greenhouse Gas Emissions* A measure of greenhouse gas emissions such as CO2
and methane, from all processes included in the scope of
These impact categories were selected the LCA, including energy generation, paper, and other
background material production, and calculated using the
based on:
IPCC 2001 Global Warming Potential Index (GWP100).
• the primary concerns of Colorep’s Water A measure of the total water draw required as input
stakeholders, and across all processes, including paper manufacture and
energy generation.
• environmental issues the AirDye®
­technology addresses. Water Pollution / A measure of emissions that cause eutrophying effects to
Eutrophication Potential* the environment, characterized by an increase in chemical
nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) that can cause
excessive plant growth and decay — leading to further
effects such as lack of oxygen and severe reductions in
water quality and populations of aquatic life.

*Impact calculation methodology defined by: Bare et al., TRACI: The Tool for the Reduction
and Assessment of Chemical and Other Environmental Impacts JIE, MIT Press, 2002.



Primary Energy Demand Global Warming Potential Water Consumption

for Prints for Prints for Prints
180 9 350
1000 kg CO2 Equivalent / 1000 kg Fabric

160 8
1000 kg Water / 1000 kg Fabric

GJ Energy / 1000 kg Fabric

140 7
120 6

100 5 200

80 4 150
60 3
40 2
20 1

0 0 0
3.5 7.75 12 3.5 7.75 12 3.5 7.75 12

Fabric weight (oz/m2) Fabric weight (oz/m2) Fabric weight (oz/m2)

Wet dye – Best in Class (ENEA) Wet dye – Best in Class (ENEA) Wet dye – Best in Class (ENEA)
AirDye® AirDye® AirDye®

CONCLUSION AirDye® technology creates a significant also significantly reduces the energy
The AirDye® process radically reduces opportunity to localize production for required at the point of color applica-
the environmental profile of the color regions of the globe that lack the water tion. As AirDye® technology matures, we
application process while improving the resources traditional methods require. expect to see additional benefits from
use phase performance of the finished Because traditional processes require increased efficiency in power usage, power
fabric. By removing the requirement of considerable energy to heat the water source, and the direct application of dye
water at the point of color application, and dry the fabric, AirDye® technology without a donor media.

6 AirDye ® – Life Cycle Assessment



Primary Energy Demand Global Warming Potential Water Consumption

for Solid Colors for Solid Colors for Solid Colors
60 4 300

1000 kg CO2 Equivalent / 1000 kg Fabric


1000 kg Water / 1000 kg Fabric

50 250
GJ Energy / 1000 kg Fabric

40 200

30 2 150

20 100
10 50

0 0 0
3.5 7.75 12 3.5 7.75 12 3.5 7.75 12

Fabric weight (oz/m2) Fabric weight (oz/m2) Fabric weight (oz/m2)

Wet dye – Best in Class (ENEA) Wet dye – Best in Class (ENEA) Wet dye – Best in Class (ENEA)
AirDye® AirDye® AirDye®

Range of typical water consumption

in the industry 4,5


Compared to the Best in Class Wet Dye Process Described
1000 kg H2O / 1000 kg Fabric*

by the ENEA LCI, the AirDye® Process (7.75 oz/m2)
2 Water Use 95% 29% – 88%**
. ) se se io
n n Energy Use 86% 64%
ls tc io
rM ia e U U at at
e t er ye, c ity as p ar l ic
ap a i G p
P M s, d tr al Pr
e p
or er nt ec ur rA Global Warming
th lve El at or lo
on O o N o n
C o 84% 60%
(s D Potential

*Results produced at 7.75 oz/m2 fabric weight **29% per the ENEA LCI, 88% compared to typical industry water
consumption 4,5, using the midpoint of the range shown in the figure above.

By transforming the color application and manufacturing processes that are architectural textiles, home fashions,
process, AirDye® enables unit production closer to the point of purchase while and floor coverings. AirDye® is a clear
methods that dramatically reduce the need reducing the financial costs and envi- response to an increasing awareness of
for large inventories of finished products. ronmental impacts of overproduction the environmental impacts associated with
and imprecise forecasting. This tech- traditional dye application processes and a
With AirDye®, the late introduction of nology is competitively positioned for new technology for improving the process
color and decoration thus enables a use in many product sectors, such as of coloration and decoration of textiles.
wider selection of choices for consumers imprinted apparel, performance apparel,

AirDye ® – Life Cycle Assessment 7

Disclaimer: The data reported in this AirDye® Environmental Profile includes off-site activities and envi-
ronmental impacts (such as power generation, solvent refining, and paper production) that are appropri-
ate for Life Cycle Assessment studies. Consequently, the inclusion of such aspects must be considered
when comparing the information included in this profile to other reported data on the AirDye® process
that are not based on the same boundary conditions. For more information, please see Table 1 – LCA
SYSTEM BOUNDARY on page 3 of this Profile.

John Otsuki j.otsuki@colorep.com
Paul Raybin p.raybin@colorep.com

Colorep®, Inc. Transprint™

9119 Milliken Avenue 462 7th Avenue, 18th Floor
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730 New York, NY 10018
909 484 2855 212 967 7200
www.colorep.com www.transprintusa.com

AirDye®, the AirDye® logo, and The World Thirsts For It SM

are service marks, trademarks, and/or
registered trademarks of Colorep®, Inc.

This brochure is printed on process chlorine-free Mohawk Options 100% PC, which is made with 100%
post-consumer recycled fiber. Please recycle.