This report details the work that was conducted on alternative production by the project team. It includes factory observations, water quality analysis from factory processes, laboratory dyeing trials and factory bulk trials.
The results show that many of the textile dyeing factories studied are operating below optimal efficiency. What this means is that not all the dye added to the dye bath that could be fixed to the fabric is being fixed, so a proportion of it is being lost in the waste water. There are many reasons for this but some fundamental reasons are that some dye managers do not fully understand the chemistry of reactive dyes and therefore mix incompatible dyes and use them under the wrong conditions of temperature and pH. Another issue is that factories do not always achieve the right shade when the fabric is first dyed and as a result have to re-dye or re-shade the fabric, wasting time and resources, and increasing costs and pollution.
The project team offered the factories a number of solutions for addressing these problems and physically demonstrated them by conducting bulk dyeing trials with improved recipes in participating factories. The results in terms of changes in the factories have sadly been limited but factory managers and staff now have increased awareness of the issues and some are gradually making changes. Some of the factories have purchased and installed improved laboratory and factory dyeing equipment which will significantly improve efficiency and reduce costs. They have also changed their recipes to use compatible dyes and some have changed dye supplier as they tested the quality of the dyes that they were receiving and found that they were of poor quality and could not therefore offer high fixation or good reproducibility.
Although change is slow it is taking place, and with the knowledge created and disseminated in this process to participating factories and other factories in the area and across Bangladesh, through workshops and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, it is hoped that the changes will spread and ultimately make a significant difference to pollution reduction.
Final Research Report Section 6. 44 pp.