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Adidas Introduces Water-Saving DryDye T-shirts

Adidas has introduced a line of T-shirts made with DryDye, a fabric and manufacturing technology developed by the Yeh Group that doesn’t require water to dye clothing.

Adidas, which released a commercial promoting the DryDye fabric and raising awareness about the amount of resources it takes to make and dye clothing, said it typically take 25 liters of water to color one shirt.

The DryDye fabric doesn’t use any water and the manufacturing process also uses 50 percent less energy and 50 percent fewer chemicals than conventional methods, Adidas said. Instead of water, DryDye uses a pressurized form of carbon dioxide, which takes on liquid-like properties. The so-called supercritical carbon dioxide is able to penetrate textile fibers and disperses the preloaded dyes without using extra chemicals.

The clothing and sports gear manufacturer said it has already made 50,000 DryDye T-shirts, saving 1,250,00 liters of water in the process. Adidas plans to use the fabric in other products as part of the company’s broader Better Place sustainability initiative.

Claims about the fabric are based on a lifecycle assessment by DyeCoo Textile Systems BV, Adidas said. Percentages are based on DyeCoo machinery results compared with industry averages of best available technology over the past 17 years, the company said.

Adidas, H&M, Ralph Lauren and Nike were criticized earlier this year in a Greenpeace report on chemicals found in clothing. Greenpeace found clothing from the companies discharged a significant amount of hazardous chemicals into water systems when washed by customers.

The report followed a 2011 campaign that named and pressured a number of clothing brands associated with importing materials from a Chinese conglomerate that the activist group says is polluting rivers. Following the campaign, Adidas committed to having zero discharge of hazardous chemicals throughout its supply chain by 2020. Nike and Puma also have agreed to eradicate hazardous chemicals from their supply chains.

Last month, Walmart, Nike, Target, JcPenney, Adidas and fellow members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition unveiled the group’s index for measuring the environmental impact of apparel products across the supply chain.  The Higg Index is an indicator-based tool for apparel that allows clothing manufacturers and brands to evaluate material types, products, facilities and processes based on a range of environmental and product design choices.

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