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This U.S. Retailer Is Turning Old Jeans Into House Insulation

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 3 years ago | News

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The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world next to big oil and a big part of this problem comes down to the fact that so many consumers now treat their clothing as disposable. American brand Madewell is seeking to disrupt this cycle of waste by encouraging customers to bring in old pairs of jeans to be recycled. According to EcoWatch, Madewell generates a quarter of its sales from denim, so it’s an important area for them to be focusing on.

After Earth Day this year though, Madewell decided to raise the stakes. Since 2014, customers have been able to drop off old pairs of jeans (of any brand) at Madewell stores and receive a $20 coupon to buy another pair from Madewell. These collected jeans are then reportedly sent to Cotton Incorporated's Blue Jeans Go Green project, which recycles old denim and transforms it into natural cotton fiber insulation for homes. 

This Earth Day marked an important milestone for Madewell, though, as the brand set out to hit 150,000 jeans donated. In actual fact, they exceeded this figure and collected 155,532. Which translates to about 186 houses insulated — a pretty great start when you think about it. So now the company is dedicated to collecting 200,000 by the end of 2017, involving its entire staff in this eco-initiative and inviting employees to be part of Habitat for Humanity projects that use the insulation in houses. 

Of course, this is not a solution to the rampant culture of disposable fashion, but it does at least get customers to start thinking about where their clothing goes after it is discarded for trivial reasons like the style going out of fashion, or the lingering desire to own a new pair. When we consider the end life of our garments, we can also become instrumental in changing their overall impact on the planet. 

Via EcoWatch

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