Starting off on the right foot for conservation

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One big step for NIKE, one bigger step for the environment: The sportswear and equipment company is apparently working with a Netherlands-based company to eliminate the use of water in textile dyeing.

NIKE says its partnership with DyeCoo Textile Systems B.V., announced in early February, means the elimination not only of water in the dyeing process, but also the fossil fuels that were used to dry the textiles. The process relies on the use of “supercritical fluid carbon dioxide,” or “SCF” CO2.

According to an article on nikeinc.com, dyeing textiles requires about 26 to 40 gallons of water for every 2.2 lbs of fabric. “Industry analysts estimate that more than 39 million [metric] tonnes of polyester [about 43 million U.S. tons] will be dyed annually by 2015,” the article states.

That’s a huge boon for the world’s water supplies!

“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,” says DyeCoo CEO Reinier Mommaal in the article.

The article goes on to state that the switch will also eliminate the discharge of hazardous effluent, and that the CO2 used in the new dyeing process is reclaimed and reused.

It sounds like NIKE’s taking a step in the right direction. Here’s hoping that other industries around the globe follow suit!