It takes between 25 and 40 gallons of water to dye 2.2 pounds of fabric. Multiply that by the millions of T-shirts, track pants, and other textiles made each year, and you get two huge environmental problems: millions of tons of chemical-laden wastewater and depletion of freshwater.
Instead of H2O, DyeCoo’s process uses supercritical carbon dioxide, which has fluidlike properties. The fabric absorbs nearly all the dye while generating no wastewater, and 95 percent of the CO2 is recycled into the next batch. Plus, reduced energy and chemical use cuts production costs 30 to 50 percent. Nike, which has a partnership with DyeCoo, used it to dye an Olympic singlet for Kenyan marathoner Abel Kirui, and Adidas put its first 50,000 DryDye T-shirts on sale this summer.
H2O savings: 100% CO2 savings: Up to 60% less emissions Cost savings: 30–50%
WaterWear is an elegant solution to a problem faced by millions of people: how to transport drinking water. The collapsible backpack, constructed from industrial-grade woven polypropylene, holds 5.3 gallons—slightly more than a typical jerrican, at one seventh the weight and half the carbon footprint. Plus, the pack’s clear liner can be removed and set in the sun so that UV light disinfects the contents; a spigot at the bottom eliminates the need for dipping cups, keeping the water clean. $10 donation sponsors one pack