Levi's now accepts used clothing and shoes for recycling at all US stores and outlets

Levi's jeans
CC BY 2.0 Lisa

Bring in your unwanted clothing or shoes to any US Levi's store or outlet for recycling, and get a 20% off voucher.

Americans send about 24 billion pounds of unwanted clothing, shoes, and other textiles to landfills each year, which is simply a staggering amount of waste, considering that an estimated 95% of those textiles could be recycled, if only there were simple, easy, and widespread ways for consumers to do so.

As part of its sustainability initiatives, the iconic denim brand Levi Strauss & Co. is taking a step toward reducing this massive stream of potentially recyclable waste by offering customers a pathway to recycling clothing (and shoes), and even offering a financial incentive for doing so.

While Levi's hasn't typically been known for its sustainability efforts in the past, the company has made strides in recent years toward a greener and more eco-friendly way of doing business, with a full life cycle assessment of its products, a water recycling program in its production facilities, a Water Less™ finishing process for jeans, and even the recommendation that customers don't need to wash their jeans.

The latest initiative is an expansion of the company's clothing recycling program, with Levi's now accepting unwanted clothing and shoes of any brand at all of its retail stores and outlets in the US, where the items will be either "re-worn, repurposed, or recycled" by its clothing collection partner, I:CO. Customers who bring in even a single item of clothing to be recycled will receive a 20% off voucher good on any regular-priced item of the company's clothing at the store.

"As an industry leader, we consider all phases of our product lifecycle, including stages beyond our direct control like the product’s end point. Collecting used clothing at our stores makes it simple and easy for consumers to do their part and builds upon our commitment to do the right thing for the environment." - Michael Kobori, VP of sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co.

This is a great addition to the company's sustainability initiatives, and I applaud their efforts, but the sticky little issue of the extreme impact that conventionally-grown cotton (which most denim is made from) has on the environment hasn't really been addressed yet. Perhaps it's time for big textile companies like Levi's to avidly pursue the commercialization of alternative fiber crops with much lower eco-footprints, such as hemp?

Tags: Clothing | Recycled Fashion


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