Levi's launches 'trashy' line of jeans

Jeans from Levi's Waste<Less collection will utilize over 3.5 million recycled bottles.

Having to trash a favorite pair of jeans is a sad fact of life we’re all familiar with. But a favorite pair of jeans made from trash, that’s a whole other thing.

Levi’s has plans to turn recycled plastic bottles into denim. The line will be out this spring.

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering how many bottles it takes to make a pair of jeans. “We’re using eight to be exact,” says James Curleigh, president of the Levi’s brand.

That’s doesn’t seem like a lot. Eight bottles on their own would make an obscenely small pair of jeans. Maybe more like Daisy Dukes. Or obscene Daisy Dukes.

But not to fret.

The plastic makes up only about 20 percent of a pair, the rest is cotton. And the blend, says Curleigh, has a greeny-browny tint. “You can see really interesting colors coming out that otherwise wouldn’t come out in blue jeans,” he says.

The jeans are likely to boost Levi’s own green-tinge. “This is not new news, but what it is is new news in this industry,” says Marshal Cohen, a retail analyst at the NPD Group. “It gets you and I talking about it, it gets the consumer talking about it, and more importantly it gets the brand to have a positive view by the consumer.”

Cohen sees only one potential downside in bottle-jeans. “If they weren’t able to really soften it up enough to have it not scratch and itch,” he says.

But that, Levi’s Curleigh assures me, isn’t a problem. And he says the new denim can be worn and washed, or not washed, just like any other pair of jeans.

About the author

Adriene Hill is a senior multimedia reporter for the Marketplace sustainability desk, with a focus on consumer issues and the individual relationship to sustainability and the environment.
Log in to post3 Comments

Not really on topic, but since the song list appears wrong, what song is played after this piece?

Noooo!!! Don't throw your old clothes in the trash! Give them to a charity such as the Salvation Army - what they can't sell in the stores is bundled and sold to be turned into "byproducts" of used clothing - insulation, wipes and rags for industry, etc.

Sorry to say, Levis, mixing cotton and poly is not a good idea. Back in 2002, McDonough and Branungart eloquently explained in Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, that a poly mix material cannot be composted, like cotton can, nor can it be reintroduced into the plastics stream, like a polyester can. It simply kills the possibly endless chain of recycling, putting those resources into the grave. Time to do some reading and get up to speed, corporate leaders!

With Generous Support From...