Dye-ing to have sustainably coloured hair? Blackcurrant waste could help

A new sustainable hair dye has been made out of the fruit skins left over from Ribena manufacture

A new sustainable hair dye has been made out of the blackcurrant waste created during Ribena manufacture.

Researchers at the University of Leeds say the product avoids the possible health and irritant issues associated with chemical dyes, up to 95% of which end up washed down the drain and into the environment.

All but 10% of British blackcurrants are used in the production of Ribena, so much of the waste comes from their facilities.

The new technology extracts anthocyanins from the fruit’s skins – these are pigments that provide colour to most berries, flowers and vegetables.

The resulting red, purple and blue dyes are non-toxic and water soluble.

When combined with a natural yellow, researchers say they could provide a wide range of colours, including browns.

Dr Blackburn, Head of the Sustainable Materials Research Group, said: “Because of issues and concerns around conventional dyes, we wanted to develop biodegradable alternatives that minimise potential risks to health and offer consumers a different option.

“We’ve made it possible to have great hair colour and to get it from nature in the most sustainable way possible.”

The blackcurrant-based dyes are expected to go on sale this summer.

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