Keeping our world’s water supply clean has been a passion well before I even got involved with Blue Planet Network back in 2008. Nearly 5 million people die from water, sanitation and hygiene-related causes each year. A lack of access to clean water impacts nearly every facet of our life and we usually don’t even realize it…
There’s been an exponential increase in awareness campaigns by non-profits in the past few years highlighting the importance of clean water projects and encouraging donations. charity:water alone has raised more than $40 million dollars by inspiring everyone from children to Will and Jada Pinkett Smith to give up their birthdays and ask others to donate instead of receiving gifts. Individually as people, I believe we’re taking notice of the issue.
But, I’ve been waiting… and waiting… and waiting… for companies to connect themselves to clean water initiatives. I’ve been on the hunt for companies that understand clean water has a dramatic impact on their business – that they need to care about clean water not because it makes for a great PR story – but because it has serious ramifications to their bottom line, their entire purpose, and their very existence.
Think I’m overreacting? Imagine trying to enjoy your favorite cup of coffee from Starbucks if the company didn’t care to invest in water filtration processes. Making the water in San Francisco and the water from New York City taste indistinguishable from the other so your favorite brew tastes the same regardless of where you are in the world is no easy feat. The water used to brew your tall soy double pump vanilla latte with cinnamon sprinkles on top is only a drop in the bucket though. Between the irrigation used to grow the coffee beans, ship them to the U.S., roast, rinse, package and plenty of other steps along the way, those aromatic arabica pebbles of joy consume roughly 35 gallons of water for a single cup of coffee. The pride might be in the coffee bean, but I guarantee you water has value to Starbucks.
How many cotton T-shirts do you own? The water footprint consumed by each one is roughly 700 gallons of water. A pair of jeans, typically just over 500 gallons. And the water does not come out clean on the other end of this manufacturing process! The textile industry is one of the biggest users and abusers of our world’s water resources. Using the estimates of a textile industry expert from Hong Kong, global textile manufacturing produces approximately 132,277,000,000 pounds of textile material each year. That equates to 2,377,548,471,223,335,936 gallons of water - OR, MORE WATER THAN YOU CAN POSSIBLE FATHOM – consumed each year just in manufacturing textiles. So when you hear of 10% or 20% reduction rates, it is reason to celebrate!
Needless to say, I was ecstatic to hear Nike and Adidas have both been working with DyeCoo, who has completely eliminated the use of water in the textile dyeing process. Instead recycled CO2 is used to die fabric. A 100% reduction of water. Not to mention significant reductions in drying expenditures. Moreover, the elimination of water, 50% reduction in energy use, and 50% reduction in chemical use has cut the textile production costs by 30% to 50%. Cheaper and safer? Brilliant! I’m guessing we’re still short of mass-production in millions upon millions of quantities. The technology has actually been around for 25yrs. DyeCoo just had the bright idea of how to make it more affordable. For now, Nike announced its partnership with DyeCoo by unveiling the running jersey it made for Kenyan Abel Kirui to wear in the Olympics. Adidas is tip-toeing in the rink too with 50,000 DryDye t-shirts going on sale this summer.
The horses are coming so you better run. Change is on the way.