Nike Inc. has entered into 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.
By using recycled carbon dioxide, DyeCoo’s technology eliminates the use of water in the textile dyeing process. The name “DyeCoo” was inspired by the process of dyeing with CO2.
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 today. Industry analysts estimate that more than 39 million tonnes of polyester will be dyed annually by 2015. Nike says it expects DyeCoo’s supercritical fluid carbon dioxide, or “SCF” CO2 dyeing technology, to have a particularly positive impact in Asia, where much of the world’s textile dyeing occurs.
Nike has been exploring this 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.
In August last year, Nike bowed to pressure from Greenpeace, promising to eliminate all hazardous chemicals across its entire supply chain and the entire life-cycle of its products, by 2020.
Nike’s announcement comes five weeks into the pressure group’s “Detox Challenge,” which, in Greenpeace’s words, aims to “create a toxic free future.”