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Levi’s Waste<Less Collection: A New Home for Recycled Plastic

Jan Lee
Jan Lee | Wednesday April 30th, 2014 | 2 Comments

Levi's Waste Less JeansFiguring out what to do with all those polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, plastic bottles that we generate on a daily basis seems like an insurmountable challenge these days. Just about everywhere you look, plastic has become an intrinsic part of our culture. The bottle of water you swig as you wrap up your morning run, the soda your child buys after school, and the cooking oil you use to make your favorite salad dressing have, in the past, had a single-designated purpose: as a durable, easily transportable container for liquids.

But thanks to manufacturers like Levi’s, that single-stream usage approach is quickly changing. Last year, Levi’s launched its Waste<Less Collection, focused on reusing post-consumer waste from PET bottles and food trays. Their first jean products incorporated a modest 20 percent of post-consumer recycled materials. With the success of the project, the uses for this content quickly ballooned. By the end of 2013, Levi’s found a second use for 7.9 million bottles, which were incorporated into its Trucker Jackets, Skinny Jeans and Boyfriend Skinny Jeans.

Last week, the company announced that it had reached an all-time high: More than 9.4 million recycled bottles have been repurposed. The end result is more than 1 million Waste<Less products have been created from the project. Of course, denim is still an integral part of Levi’s products. But the use of recycled plastic has helped to not only cut down on the demand for cotton, but also extend the durability of the clothing.

In April 2014, Levi’s announced what many may feel is a signature creation: the Parachute-Trucker Jacket. It’s exactly as it sounds: a lightweight, comfortably fitting jacket repurposed from the same durable material that U.S. military parachutes are made from. If there’s anything that the military usually knows how to source it’s durable materials, and Levi’s reuse of these materials offers both consumers and the environment another answer to the age-old challenge of how to keep plastic out of our landfills.

For a glimpse at how Levi’s Waste<Less Jeans are made, check out the video below.

If you’d like to learn more about the fashion industry’s innovative sustainability efforts, see our special series on Sustainable Apparel. And don’t miss my upcoming blog post on innovative reuse of recycled fibers, which will be posted in the second or third week of May.

Image courtesy of Levi’s


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  • Ms.Cleaver

    I love the idea behind the water<less, waste<less and well thread lines, but when will they be expanded to the women's side? I'd love more sustainable options -especially in my jeans!

    • J_N_Lee

      Thanks for your comment.
      I believe the Skinny Jeans are for women, if that is your question. You can also pass your comment on to Levi’s through their comment page, which can be accessed by clicking on the link at http://us.levi.com.

      Thanks!