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Blue Jeans Go Green Challenges Consumers to Recycle Unwanted Denim

Rivet's 2020 Denim Circularity report takes a deep dive into how the global denim industry is plotting its circular future amidst a worldwide pandemic.

Cotton Incorporated’s clothing recycling program Blue Jeans Go Green wants your stack. The not-for-profit organization launched its second annual Denim Stack Challenge, calling on consumers to donate denim they no longer wear to be repurposed for insulation for building efforts around the U.S.

Similar to last year’s campaign, the program calls for people to “stack their denim” and upload a photo to Instagram using the hashtag #DenimStackChallenge. From there, they can place any denim item made of at least 90 percent cotton into a box and mail it for free using a Zappos for Good shipping label. The prepaid shipping label is available to customers with a Zappos account.

Alternatively, they can visit a participating store such as Levi’s, Madewell, Garage, Rag & Bone, Universal Standard and others in exchange for special rewards. Participants are encouraged to check with retailers before visiting, as Covid requirements are regularly changing.

By encouraging social media engagement, the organization aims to spread awareness of its mission to repurpose denim for the greater good and reduce the industry’s massive waste problem. Last year, the organization received around 50,000 denim garments in November alone—the same month it held the campaign.

The challenge kicked off on “America Recycles Day” on Nov. 15. According to Andrea Samber, director of consumer marketing—brand partnerships for Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green, this year’s denim drive may come at the perfect time for consumers. “With the way life is now amidst the pandemic, minus a live in-person event, we thought it was a fun and safe initiative to continue this year in support of America Recycles Day,” she said.

The Covid-19 crisis has sparked a widespread shift to more mindful consumption, and has inspired people all over the world to take inventory of their wardrobe and purge it of clothing they no longer wear. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 11.3 million tons of textile waste ended up in landfills in 2018. The Blue Jeans Go Green program reportedly saved more than 1,750 tons of denim from ending up in a landfill and recycled more than 3.5 million pieces of denim since its inception in 2006. In total, the program has created more than 6 million square feet of denim insulation.

“In a time where the world has collectively been facing uncertainty, we have been able to offer consumers inspiring actionable ways to make positive changes together for the planet, even from home,” Samber said.

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