Sportswear manufacturing giant adidas nabbed a game-changing move from Nike, one of its largest competitors, to forever alter the textile dyeing industry. The internationally-known company unveiled it’s first collection of t-shirts colored using DryDye, a sustainable and completely waterless process to dye polyester fabrics, last month. A typical textile factory uses up to 25 liters of water to color a single shirt; so, you can do math and figure that if Adidas fulfills its’ promise to produce 50,000 DryDye t-shirts this summer then 1,250,000 liters of water would be saved!
DyeCoo Textile Systems, a Netherlands-based company, created DryDye technology and the first commercially available textile dyeing machines to use recycled carbon dioxide instead of water. The name “DyeCoo” was derived from the process of “dyeing” with “CO2” (carbon dioxide).
DryDye fabrics are dyed using supercritical fluid CO2, which means carbon dioxide is in the form of an expanded liquid or heavily compressed gas. Once the CO2 is heated to 120 degrees Celsius and pressurized, it can then color synthetic fibers and enhances the distribution of dyes into fabrics, as stated on DyeCoo’s website.
Supercritical fluid CO2 has been safely used for over three decades in many extraction processes within various industries including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food for the purposes of decaffeinating coffee, extracting hops and other natural spices and flavors. Carbon dioxide also is an abundant, natural resource, fairly inexpensive and chemically inactive and a perfect addition to the textile dying industry.
Finally… A Dye that Gives Back to Environment
If all of the scientific background knowledge seems a little confusing, it’s important to know that DryDye is changing how clothing will be dyed, and conserving water supplies. The innovative technology uses less energy and fewer chemicals, reduces emissions into the air, and consumes absolutely no water, among other advantages. Another added bonus to this process is the non-existent drying times, which makes the process twice as fast as water-based dyes.
About this time last year adidas was at the forefront of protests by Greenpeace, a global environmental organization, and customers to eliminate the release of toxins and chemicals into China’s rivers and other water supplies. DryDye t-shirts is only one way adidas is improving their sustainability efforts and in turn reducing the harmful effects to people, animals and the environment that water-based dye processes have had in the past.
The global sporting goods company plans to produce a complete collection of DryDye clothing over the next few seasons, and DyeCoo is researching new ways to apply this technology to other natural and synthetic fabrics.
Images credit: adidas News Stream