Turning Air Pollution Into Screen Printing Ink
Pangaia, the apparel brand, has taken the sustainable sweatshirt to new heights by using screen printing ink made from air pollution.
The stylish comfortwear line already uses minimal ink for small logos on the chest or hip of its products. And what little ink it does use is made from turning carbon emissions into what the company calls “Air-Ink.”
According to Vogue, the process involves capturing an industrial manufacturing emission particle called PM 2.5, and then removing the toxins to create a pigment.
Air-Ink can be a replacement for the commonly used Carbon Black pigment, which is produced by burning petroleum. Other companies have introduced alternatives to Carbon Black, like algae-based dye for shirts.
On that note, Pangaia is also working on creating fabrics that use seaweed as an alternative for cotton. The company already employs a number of innovative sustainability strategies, including the use of repurposed pineapple and banana leaves in some apparel:
Did you know 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year? PANGAIA FRUTFIBER™repurposes unwanted pineapple and banana leaves to give waste a new lease of life.https://t.co/12Bt1Txfso pic.twitter.com/ml1wIEmwpe
— PANGAIA (@thepangaia) August 24, 2021
Amanda Parkes, chief innovation officer at Pangaia, said that Air-Ink is not only more environmentally friendly than Carbon Black, it’s also more black. (Cue “Spinal Tap” reference.)
Vogue reported that each kilogram of Air-Ink ink “will mitigate 800 grams of CO2 footprint.” Eventually, Pangaia plans to offer Air-Ink to other companies to make it more commonplace in apparel decoration.
As buyer habits shift from fast fashion to more eco-friendly companies, Parkes believes that “science is the new luxury.”
“The consumer is starting to ask for it, and companies can use it as a brand differentiator or brand builder,” she told Vogue. “I mean, it’s hard, it’s expensive, it takes a long time. But hardcore biotech science and luxury are actually perfectly matched in terms of their timing and craftsmanship, all of that.”