Nike announced today it has entered a strategic partnership with DyeCoo Textile Systems B.V., a Netherlands-based company that has developed and built the first commercially available waterless textile dyeing machines.
Details of the partnership -- such as the amount of textiles that Nike will convert from water-dyeing to the waterless technology as well as the pace of that conversion -- have yet to be determined.
But the potential impact of the world's largest sporting goods company adopting waterless dyeing process is huge.
Last year, Nike was among several apparel companies that entered an agreement with Greenpeace to end textile-dyeing practices that have been blamed for endangering water supplies worldwide, especially in China and the rest of Asia.
Conventional textile dyeing requires substantial amounts of water. On average, an estimated 100-150 liters 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. At present, DyeCoo's technology is limited to dying polyester, though research is underway to add cotton and other natural and synthetic products to the waterless mix, Eric Sprunk, Nike's vice president of merchandising and product., said in an interview with The Oregonian.
Organic Cotton: It’s cropping up everywhere, from H&M to the Gap. This is a good thing: conventionally grown cotton packs a huge pesticide punch and is one of the most chemical-laden crops in the world. “Supporting the organic cotton industry is a big green step,” says Rob Grand, owner of Grassroots Environmental Products. “It’s not just your own health you’re supporting when you buy organic cotton but also an economy and a method of agriculture that’s good for the planet.”
But if the organic cotton you purchase isn’t also assured to be fair trade, or is processed using conventional dyes, or treated with chemicals such as formaldehyde to keep it from wrinkling on its trip overseas, that cute T-shirt is still leaving a sizeable footprint on the earth. So be forewarned that labels won’t tell you everything and that you have to dig deeper to get the whole story. Whenever possible, try to buy organic cotton in the shades it’s naturally grown in: cream, pale green, and light brown. Also look for garments that are coloured using natural or vegetable-based dyes or bear credible labels (such as Eco-Cert) indicating the product is certified organic, sustainable, and eco-friendly.