The original blue-jean company is making efforts to turn its iconic garment green. On Tuesday, Levi Strauss announced the launch of “Waste<Less,” an upcoming collection of denim that incorporates post-consumer waste, specifically plastic bottles and food trays. Set to debut in January, the line of skinny jeans, straight-fit jeans, and trucker jackets will comprise a minimum of 20 percent recycled content, or the equivalent of eight 12- to 20-ounce bottles per jean. The entire collection is expected to utilize over 3.5 million recycled bottles, according to Levi’s.
Levi’s will work with its partners to collect polyethylene terephthalate (PET) materials—including brown beer bottles, green soda bottles, clear water bottles, and black food trays—through municipal recycling programs across the United States. The bottles and food trays are sorted by color, crushed into flakes, and spun into polyester. The polyester fiber is finally woven with conventional cotton yarn by Cone Denim, which runs one of the nation’s oldest denim mills in North Carolina.
The color of the bottles used, according to Levi’s, adds a “beautiful undertone” to the denim fabric.
The color of the bottles used, notes the company, adds a “beautiful undertone” to the denim fabric, which reveals green and brown specks in the right light.
“From the beginning, we have designed our products with purpose and intent. By adding value to waste, we hope to change the way people think about recycling, ultimately incentivizing them to do more of it,” says James Curleigh, global president Levi’s, in a statement. “This collection proves that you don’t have to sacrifice quality, comfort or style to give an end a new beginning.”
The Waste<Less line comes on the heels of “Water<Less,” a finishing technique designed to reduce denim’s water footprint by up to 96 percent.
“We don’t just want to reduce our impact on the environment, we want to leave it better than we found it,” Curleigh adds. “We are committed to making products in ways that are good for people and better for our planet.”