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.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.