A Norwich-based biotech firm which produces clothing dyes through DNA sequencing has released a report demonstrating the “environmental advantage” of its technology.

Established in 2016 by Orr Yarkoni and Jim Ajioka, Colorifix is tackling pollution in the fashion industry with its biological dyeing process, which cuts out the use of harsh chemicals and reduces water consumption.

The company uses the DNA sequencing of a leaf, stone, flower or feather to create authentic colour pigments. It then turns these pigments into dyes using microorganisms that multiply during fermentation and fix pigments to textiles with far fewer of the added salts used in conventional dyeing.

Colorifix recently published its Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which compared the company’s water, electricity and natural gas consumption with conventional dyeing processes.

The Comet: Orr Yarkoni, CEO of ColorifixOrr Yarkoni, CEO of Colorifix (Image: Colorifix)

The assessment, carried out at a dye house in Portugal, also looked at the relative impact of dyeing on global warming, resource depletion and other macro-environmental factors.

According to the LCA, the Colorifix process had a lesser impact on the environment than the conventional dyeing process. It reported a 77% reduction in water usage, 80% reduction in chemicals usage, 71% reduction in natural gas usage, and 53% reduction in energy consumption.

“The dyes that colour our clothes are all too often made and applied through a process that damages the planet by using too much water, power and toxic chemicals,” said CEO Orr Yarkoni. “We started Colorifix to develop a natural alternative to this crucial input in the textile supply chain.

“We are delighted with the results of our Life Cycle Assessment, which demonstrate the environmental advantage of the Colorifix technology.”

The Comet: Jim Ajioka, chief science officer at ColorifixJim Ajioka, chief science officer at Colorifix (Image: Colorifix)

Chief science officer Jim Ajioka added: “The LCA of our process is essential as it not only confirms our projected reduction in environmental damage, but allows our partners in the dyeing industry to estimate potential monetary savings if they use Colorifix technology. 

“Moreover, the LCA highlights where improvements in the process could lead to even greater reduction in environmental damage.”

Colorifix has customers in Italy, Portugal and Bosnia and is looking to grow further in these countries in 2023, as well as entering Brazil, Turkey and Sri Lanka. It will then expand into other parts of Asia in 2024. 

In May, the company closed an £18m funding round led by H&M CO:LAB, the venture capital arm of the H&M Group. It has produced clothes for Stella McCartney, H&M and sustainable clothing brands including Pangaia.

For more information, visit www.colorifix.com