Trends & Features

Nike explores waterless dyeing with new partnership

Nike has agreed a deal with DyeCoo Textile Systems to explore the use of the company’s waterless textile dyeing machines in the production of the brand’s apparel.

By using recycled carbon dioxide DyeCoo’s technology eliminates the use of water in the textile dyeing process.

“Waterless dyeing is a significant step in our journey to serve both the athlete and the planet, and this partnership reinforces Nike’s long-term strategy and commitment to innovation and sustainability,” says Eric Sprunk, Nike’s vice president of merchandising and product.

“We believe this technology has the potential to revolutionise textile manufacturing, and we want to collaborate with progressive dye houses, textile manufacturers and consumer apparel brands to scale this technology and push it throughout the industry.”

Nike says it’s been exploring waterless dyeing technology for the past eight years and expects to showcase apparel using textiles dyed without water at events later this year, with an eye towards scaling the technology for larger production volumes.

“We’re very excited to be partnering with Nike to help drive this together and believe the benefits and impacts of this technology are significant,” says Reinier Mommaal, CEO of Netherlands-based DyeCoo.

“There is no water consumption, a reduction in energy use, no auxiliary chemicals required, no need for drying and the process is twice as fast.

“The technology can also improve the quality of the dyed fabric, allows for greater control over the dyeing process, enables new dye capabilities and transforms fabric dyeing so that it can take place just about anywhere.

“We hope more industry leaders will join us in leveraging this innovative technology in the near future.”

Conventional textile dyeing requires substantial amounts of water.

On average, an estimated 100-150 litres of water is needed to process one kg of textile materials.

Industry analysts estimate that more than 39 million tons of polyester will be dyed annually by 2015.

Nike says it expects DyeCoo’s technology to have a particularly positive impact in Asia, where much of the world’s textile dyeing occurs.

As this technology is brought to scale, large amounts of water used in conventional textile dyeing will no longer be needed, nor will the commensurate use of fossil fuel generated energy be required to heat such large sums of water.

The removal of water from the textile dyeing process also eliminates the risk of effluent discharge, a known environmental hazard. The CO2 used in DyeCoo’s dyeing process is also reclaimed and reused.

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