This year marks the 10th anniversary of Cotton Incorporated’s Blue Jeans Go Green denim recycling program, an initiative that diverts denim garments from landfills and upcycles them. Manufacturing partner Bonded Logic Inc. in Chandler, Ariz., turns them into UltraTouch Denim Insulation, and a portion of the home and building insulation is then donated to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity to help communities in need. Since the program began in 2006, Blue Jeans Go Green has diverted more than 1 million pieces of denim waste – about 600 tons – from the nation’s landfills, while manufacturing more than 2 million square feet of insulation.
These milestones were achieved with the support of consumers who wanted to help make a difference in the environment. “Consumers care about their denim in a way they don’t seem to care about most other apparel products,” says Cotton Incorporated’s Andrea Samber, co-director, Strategic Alliances. “They want to see that it continues to have value and a life after they’re done with it.”
Ten Years Of Partnerships
Since 2006, the Blue Jeans Go Green program has partnered with dozens of colleges around the country and collected thousands of pieces of denim, all while giving students a chance to give back and get involved in an eco-conscious program.
In 2009, the denim recycling program set the Guinness Book of World Records for the most items of clothing collected for recycling. Prior to this accomplishment, it partnered with National Geographic Kids and amassed 33,088 denim items, including jeans, shirts, jackets and hats.
The Blue Jeans Go Green program has enjoyed its share of celebrity attention, too. Last year, singer Sheryl Crow and actress AnnaSophia Robb honored the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by joining a Habitat for Humanity Build-A-Thon. They helped construct 10 new homes in 10 days in New Orleans, padding the homes with the UltraTouch Denim Insulation.
Retailers and brands have also gotten in on the recycling effort. Industry supporters of the Blue Jeans Go Green program in 2016 include Madewell, Guess and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th.
A Natural Choice For Insulation
Bonded Logic Inc. has been on the leading edge of renewable building technology for 35 years. Its product engineers chose recycled cotton fiber as the basis for their patented formula because of its inherent qualities for sound absorption and maximum thermal performance.
Compared to fiberglass insulation products, cotton UltraTouch has no itch and is easy to handle. There are no chemical irritants, airborne particulates, VOC concerns and no need for carcinogenic warning labels. UltraTouch also contains an Environmental Protection Agency registered fungal inhibitor to actively resist the growth of mold, fungi and bacteria.
The Blue Jeans Go Green program is a unique and responsible way The Cotton Research & Promotion Program is finding innovative applications for cotton. To learn more, please visit bluejeansgogreen.org.
The Cotton Board, which administers CI’s Research and Promotion Program, contributed this article.