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The Increased Use Of Natural Dyes Is The Need Of The Times
The concern about environmental pollution and their effects has sparked a lot of debate and heat in many a recent conference at the global level. Initiatives, stringent steps to be taken, ban on certain harmful poisonous substances resulting from industrial production and release of waste are all issues raised, debated and followed up with additional steps and strictures coupled with the existing, long list of international policies already framed for the ‘cleaning-up\' of the environment.
Processes especially in the textile industry, where dyeing and printing is a major part, oil refineries and chemical industries, are an important part of the agenda. Progress is perceived to be in the right direction, with most nations attending international conferences and meets with the signing of many pacts and joint ventures, but the implementation of restricting or preventive measures are either lacking in will or just peripheral to have any real impact in curtailing environmental pollution.
One of the issues taken-up in this direction as a major cause for concern is the limited use of vegetable and natural dyes in textiles.
Vegetable dyes are made from the processing of vegetables and their skins while natural dyes include vegetable dyes and also dyes made from many other substances from nature.
Vegetables like beetroot, tomato, carrot, onion, some leafy vegetables and fruits like pomegranate, grapes, guava, are examples of the vast and abundant sources for vegetable dyes available in nature.
Turmeric, acacia, red sandalwood, henna, madder, lac dye, are well-known examples of materials other than fruits and vegetables for natural dyes.
The advantages in the use of natural dyes over chemical dyes in textiles are many, but the more important ones are:
- Natural dyes are easy on the skin and do not irritate or affect it, while chemical dyes do have a mild to noticeable effect.
- Vegetable dyes are fast colors and do not run despite several washes over the years. Artificial dyes have a tendency of spreading in the next or after a few washes. Fading, dullness or change of colour in a short period after repeated washes, is a foregone conclusion for chemical dyed apparel.
- The raw materials for natural colourants are directly available from nature. Chemicals for chemical dyes have to be specially prepared from a combination of different substances, through special laboratory methods or large scale industrial processes.
- Wastes from the use of vegetable or natural dyes are neither harmful to human life nor do they pollute. Whereas it harms human life and pollutes when chemical dyes are used.
The advocacy for dyes using substances from nature has been since long, and policies for their use have been made and enforced in developed nations, like the US and most countries in Europe. The same cannot be said for India and many other smaller countries where the textile industry contributes significantly to the GDP.
Major hitches that have been encountered in the widespread use of natural dyes are:
- the cost is relatively more compared to that of chemical dyes, since extraction from the raw material and its further process is complicated.
- There is limited know how and technical capability regarding the same
- The extraction from the source is so small that the required quantity for the dyeing process in a batch process would entail a huge supply of raw material as compared to the same quantity of chemical dye available for it
- Getting most shades within a colour is not possible or its process is currently not known
- Blending of colours is also a limiting factor. (Very few natural dyes can be blended to achieve the desired colour).
- Easy and cheap methods for the extraction of colour from natural substances are still being explored
- There is a general lack of sufficient concern for the environment.
But in the recent couple of years, there has been a marked change and interest in the preparation and use of natural dyes in India and countries in similar situations. The reasons for such a turn could be attributed to:
- the increasing awareness of the market regarding environmental issues and its demand for the use of natural dyes, especially for apparel, textile cloth for furnishings and other items of household use.
- the ban on certain class of azo-dyes, in the light of possible hazards and the use of vegetable dyes being actively canvassed and given whole-hearted support by various research institutions, NGOs, public figures and environmental activists, is also helping the cause.
- the huge opening up of exports of these dyes to developed countries where it is in great demand
- the growing of raw materials for the making of natural dyes becoming a new avenue for rural entrepreneurship and a means to livelihood
- increasing voices in international meets to address environmental issues rigorously
A welcome trend is the increased availability and use of vegetable dyes in textiles, even if it was and continues being used in a host of diverse processes in industries like food processing, printing, leather, wood, paper and even colours for the Indian festival ‘Holi\'.
It would indeed augur well for posterity if technology makes a breakthrough soon enough to ensure that the benefits of vegetable and natural dyes can be reaped in a cheaper and more sustained manner, as compared to the present.
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/clothing-articles/the-increased-use-of-natural-dyes-is-the-need-of-the-times-6771406.htmlAbout the Author
Shiva is associated with Unnati Silks in a professional capacity and contributes regularly on ethnic fabrics. You may contact on 040-64555251 or 97000 57744.
Unnati Silks has trendy designs, attractive patterns, in vivid colours and pleasing combinations in its large collection of 300 plus varieties of ethnic Sarees and Salwar Kameez.