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adidas' DryDye garment dyeing process delivers significant water and energy savings


August 2, 2012

adidas produced 50,000 t-shirts using the resourse-saving DryDye process in Q2 2012

adidas produced 50,000 t-shirts using the resourse-saving DryDye process in Q2 2012

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Textiles are a resource-heavy business. In an effort to reduce water consumption, energy use and a need for chemicals, adidas created the DryDye technology, which uses pressurized CO2 in place of water to dye t-shirts and other garments.

A typical t-shirt requires 25 liters (6.6 gallons) of water to dye and process. Water is often used as a solvent in pre-treatment and finishing processes such as washing, scouring, bleaching and dyeing. Each of those processes also uses chemicals. According to adidas the DryDye process uses no water; 50 percent less energy and 50 percent fewer chemicals.

To put water savings in perspective, adidas says in about two years the textile industry uses enough water to fill the Mediterranean Sea to dye clothing. In second quarter 2012 adidas produced 50,000 DryDye t-shirts to meet retailer demand. In that production run, adidas saved over 1,200,000 liters (317,000 gallons) of water. The company is working on using the DryDye process on other garments beyond t-shirts in the future.

The adidas t-shirts made using the DryDye process for this summer were the first use of the process for a global product. The Yeh Group is a mill in Thailand that processes the DryDye t-shirts.

The DryDye process is explained in the following video from adidas.

Source: adidas

About the Author
Enid Burns Enid began her freelance writing career reviewing video games after spending several hundred dollars upgrading a DOS-based machine to get Syndicate to run. Since then she's added coverage of mobile phones, consumer electronics and online advertising to her writing portfolio. Essentially, she's fascinated by shiny objects and making them light up. All articles by Enid Burns

They need to try one of those 99% water filtration systems instead of producing and releasing CO2.

Paul Brush

"adidas created the DryDye technology" - I'm so impressed that a large company is being innovative, not isn't just doing what they always do. But hang on, a search for 'Yeh Group is a mill in Thailand' shows that at http://www.bharat-apparel.com/newsroom/50622.html, Bharet Apparel "believes it will be the first textile mill to implement a new process developed by DyeCoo Textile Systems." But a search for "DyeCoo Textile Systems" shows that in Feb 2012 'NIKE, Inc. (NYSE:NKE) announced today it has entered into a strategic partnership with DyeCoo Textile Systems' and that "is illustrative of NIKE, Inc.’s long-term commitment to designing and developing..." blah blah blah !


Paul, they aren't producing CO2 (except maybe in the power used, which would be happening anyway). They are using liquid CO2 (possible at dry-ice temperatures under pressure) as a solvent so they only release what they pull out to begin with. Since the CO2 sublimates at normal pressure, you don't have to worry about it growing mold and since it's a good solvent for the dyes without needing to be in solution itself (like bleach) you don't have to worry much about contaminants - which would all come out (and probably be reusable) as solids after the CO2 sublimates anyway. Other than that, there is some heat generated in the process of cooling and normal consumption of electric power (though normal mechanics and electrical mechanisms often run better cold as well) and very little other impact.

By the way, decaf coffee has done this for a while now, so it's a new application of a well tested idea. Go Adidas!

Charles Bosse
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