Nikes ColorDry Polo delivers brilliant colours with minimal environmental impact

Nike's ColorDry Polo delivers brilliant colours with minimal environmental impact

The first consumer products to be made using fabric dyed in the ColorDry water-free process have finally been unveiled by sportswear giant Nike.

ColorDry, developed by Dutch start-up DyeCoo Textile Systems - in which Nike has invested - eliminates water and reduces the use of chemicals.

Instead of using water, DyeCoo's technology uses recycled CO2, saving up to 30 litres of clean water per dyed T-shirt. The technology not only provides huge environmental benefits, it also ensures intense saturated colour, saves energy and eliminates the need for added chemicals in the fabric dyeing process. 

"Creating this game-changing technology has been a long process on which we have been working for over ten years. To now see DyeCoo's technology brought to the market, and not just by any brand, but by Nike, makes all our hard work worthwhile," said Mats Blacker, DyeCoo's CEO.

"We see this as an important step towards revolutionising the textile dyeing industry. This product line proves that our technology is economically viable and suitable to scale, while hugely decreasing environmental impact".

Other features of the new Nike product line include the use of Nike Dri-FIT technology to draw sweat away from the body through the fabric. To add to the sustainable character the polos are also made from 100% recycled polyester.
ColorDry polos will be available in six different colours.

As reported on just-style last year, the ColorDry fabric is being produced in a new water-free dyehouse in Taiwan that has been set up with manufacturer Far Eastern New Century Corp (FENC).

An estimated 100-150 litres of water is needed to process one kg of textiles today. And with industry analysts calculating that more than 39m tons of polyester will be dyed annually by 2015, the new technology has immense scope to reshape the dyeing industry.

Nike was one of several firms that jumped on board the so-called Detox challenge set out two years ago by environmental pressure group Greenpeace to eliminate the discharge of hazardous chemicals from their supply chains by 2020.

One of the issues they highlighted in a joint 'roadmap' of the steps they intend to take to achieve the goal was the vast volume of water used in dyeing/finishing and other processes - and the fact that wastewater treatment varies from facility to facility.

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.

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.

The waterless dyeing process is currently limited to polyester fabric, but research is underway to extend its application to other natural and synthetic fabrics.

For further just-style analysis of the impact of water-free dyeing, click on the following link: Waterless dyeing garners mixed industry reaction.