Jeans from Levi's Waste<Less collection
Jeans from Levi's Waste<Less collection - 
Listen To The Story

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.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Adriene Hill at @adrienehill