Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Levi Strauss & Co: Bring Us Your Old Jeans

Business

At Levi Strauss & Co., our sustainability thinking has traditionally begun at the cotton stage of the product life cycle. The cotton is picked, ginned, spun and woven into fabric. The fabric is cut, sewn and finished into a pair of jeans before being sent to a distribution center, then on to your favorite store where the jeans are sold to you.

Bring us your old jeans that are no longer wearable. That simple action will influence others and send the consumer demand signal to the apparel industry to establish a circular economy for our products.
NorGal / Shutterstock.com

You’ll wear them. Live in them. Love them. Make them your own. And after a few years with that perfect fit, you’ll probably toss them. That’s it. The life of a pair of Levi’s. On average, that life lasts a little over three years (although they’ll last for decades if you take care of them in the proper way).

What’s wrong with this picture? It’s entirely linear. It’s birth to death. And it’s wasteful. At Levi Strauss & Co. we want to change that by taking another step forward on our journey towards a circular economy.

And that step involves you, the consumer. That’s why you can now bring all your old clothes and shoes to any Levi’s store in the U.S. We’ll collect them and reuse, repurpose or recycle them with our partner I:CO.

We’ll help divert some of the 24 billion pounds of clothing, shoes and textiles Americans add to landfills every year. The clothes we collect will be transformed into things like insulation for buildings, cushioning material and new fibers for clothing. And it’s that last piece—transforming old jeans into new ones—that holds both the greatest opportunity and challenge for us.

The opportunity is tremendous. We’re aiming to establish an infrastructure that supports closed loop products by 2020. Our vision is to recycle your old Levi’s into new ones. And by doing this, we’ll reduce the impact of cotton agriculture by harvesting the denim from people’s closets that would otherwise end up as landfill.

To bring our circular economy vision to life, we need to continue R&D efforts to establish ways to separate denim made of cotton—polyester blends so these fibers can be recycled. We’ll also have to partner with our suppliers to research and develop cotton fiber that is strong enough to be recycled and still meet our high quality standards.

In spite of these challenges, we continue to explore innovative business models and ways to support a circular economy, taking the slow fashion approach our CEO Chip Bergh talks about, rather than chasing the fast fashion trends in retail today.

While brands consider metrics like customer lifetime value, we are constantly thinking about concepts like product lifetime value and the systems needed to support those concepts. For example, in more than 80 Levi’s stores globally, we have tailor shops that can repair, resize and restyle your denim. These shops extend the life of your jeans, so you can hang on to your favorite pair and won’t need to consume a new pair as often. It’s another one of the steps we’re taking toward realizing a circular economy.

Today, those steps remain imperfect. We have a long way to go and we can’t do it alone. We’re collaborating with our network of suppliers and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition on how we can better design, produce and recycle our products while collectively shifting consumer behavior to effectively participate in a circular economy.

Ultimately, I am confident we will create a system that supports closed loop products. You can help. Bring us your old jeans that are no longer wearable. That simple action will influence others and send the consumer demand signal to the apparel industry to establish a circular economy for our products.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Pro Surfer Kelly Slater Launches Clothing Line Made From Ocean Trash

100 Eco-Innovations Changing the Way the World Does Business

Boyan Slat to Deploy ‘Longest Floating Structure in World History’ to Clean Ocean Plastic

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Pile River flows into the northern end of Lake Iliamna. The lake and its tributaries are the headwaters of the Bristol Bay region, one of the richest salmon fisheries in the world. Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrote a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers last week to say that it would not oppose or put a stop to a huge copper and gold mine near the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery, as The Washington Post reported.

Read More Show Less
A crowd of protestors on May 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

The nationwide horror at the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police has triggered protests in 75 cities. People are demonstrating against the systemic racism that has made people of color targets of lethal actions by law enforcement. In response, elected officials and public health experts are walking a fine line of affirming the rights of protestors while simultaneously worrying that the protests will lead to a new wave of coronavirus infections.

Read More Show Less
Increasing your exercise intensity is fairly simple to do. You can still participate in your favorite activities — just at a more vigorous pace. SrdjanPav / Getty Images

By Sara Lindberg

Whether you've hit a workout plateau or you're just ready to turn things up a notch, adding more strenuous exercise — also known as high-intensity exercise — to your overall fitness routine is one way to increase your calorie burn, improve your heart health, and boost your metabolism.

However, to do it safely and effectively, there are some guidelines you should follow. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of vigorous exercise and how to safely dial up the intensity of your workouts.

Read More Show Less
As restoration managers repair damaged corals, sound recordings can help jumpstart the process of restoring vibrant – and noisy – coral reef ecosystems. CC by 2.0

A healthy coral reef is a noisy place.

Read More Show Less
While it's often dismissed as stuff for kids, a lot of grownups secretly savor it. TheCrimsonMonkey / Getty Images

By Jeffrey Miller

In January 2015, food sales at restaurants overtook those at grocery stores for the first time. Most thought this marked a permanent shift in the American meal.

Read More Show Less
A man observes the damages caused to his neighborhood from Tropical Storm Amanda on May 31, 2020 in San Salvador, El Salvador. Guillermo Martínez / APHOTOGRAFIA / Getty Images

At least 14 people were killed when Tropical Storm Amanda walloped El Salvador Sunday, Interior Minister Mario Duran said.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A fire in Greenland on July 10. Zombie fires smolder underground for months, notably in dense peatlands, and then flare-up when it grows warmer and drier. NASA

By Mark Kaufman

Some fires won't die.

They survive underground during the winter and then reemerge the following spring, as documented in places like Alaska. They're called "overwintering," "holdover," or "zombie" fires, and they may have now awoken in the Arctic Circle — a fast-warming region that experienced unprecedented fires in 2019. The European Union's Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service is now watching these fires, via satellite.

Read More Show Less