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Build a
Waste-free World
2023 Finalist


Colorifix uses DNA sequencing and nature’s own colours to create sustainable dyes that reduce the fashion industry’s use of water and harmful chemicals.

The fashion industry not only creates waste in our landfills; it also wastes precious water and strains natural resources because of the energy-intensive process used for dyeing fabrics.

Before the 19th century, fabric dyes were derived from natural plants and crops, and colourful clothing was considered a luxury reserved only for the wealthy and privileged. After the industrial revolution brought about synthetic dyes, colourful dyed fabrics and clothing became accessible to the masses and created the modern fashion industry. However, chemically synthesised dyes have come at a significant cost as they seep into rivers, harm wildlife and use vast amounts of water resources. Fabric dyeing consumes five trillion litres of water every year, the equivalent of two million Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Colorifix's Solution

UK based Colorifix has an innovative solution derived from nature. Inspired by their study of water contamination in Nepal, founders Orr Yarkoni and Jim Ajioka have created an efficient fabric-dyeing process that uses the DNA codes for colours found in nature and teaches microbes to recreate them. Just as brewing beer uses the power of microorganisms to ferment wheat, Colorifix is harnessing microscopic life to make natural fabric dyes.

The process begins with Colorifix identifying a colour created naturally by an animal, plant or microbe. Then, using DNA sequencing, they identify where that colour is coded in the genetics of that organism. The DNA code is then translated into Colorifix’s own engineered microorganisms, enabling them to produce the pigment—just as it is made in nature —and transfer it to the fabric.

Their Impact

Colorifix’s natural dyes cut chemical pollution by 80%, and when applied to fabrics, they require far fewer rinses than synthetic dyes, ultimately saving vast quantities of water. Already gaining traction in the fashion industry, Colorifix have ambitions to dye 15% of the world’s clothes by 2030, helping big manufacturers make good on their sustainability targets.

Other 2023 Build a Waste-free World Finalists

Learn About the Earthshots

and Restore

By 2030, we choose to ensure that, for the first time in human history, the natural world is growing – not shrinking – on our planet. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Protecting areas of high biodiversity such as forests, wetland, peatlands and wildlife corridors
  2. Restoring damaged ecosystems
  3. Feeding people while protecting nature
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Clean Our

By 2030 we choose to ensure that everyone in the world breathes clean, healthy air – at World Health Organization standard or better. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Engaging citizens in data collection and clean air policies
  2. Preventing the burning of fields, forests and waste
  3. Transitioning to clean transportation for all
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Revive Our

By 2030, we choose to repair and preserve our oceans for future generations. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Protecting and restoring coastal ecosystems
  2. Replenishing fish populations
  3. Reducing demand for fishmeal
Learn more about this Earthshot

Build a

By 2030, we choose to build a world where nothing goes to waste, where the leftovers of one process become the raw materials of the next – just like they do in nature. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Reducing food loss from farm to fork
  2. Phasing out single-use and non-recycled plastics
  3. High-value circularity in fashion and electronics
Learn more about this Earthshot

Fix Our

We choose to fix the world’s climate by cutting out carbon: building a carbon neutral economy that lets every culture, community and country thrive. 

This Earthshot focuses on three main areas of interest: 

  1. Creating an equitable clean energy future
  2. Addressing non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions
  3. Decarbonising hard to abate sectors
Learn more about this Earthshot
The Earthshot Prize