Levi Strauss expands clothing recycling program

Levi Strauss expands clothing recycling program

Clothier partners with Swiss textiles recycler I:Collect for sorting, reuse and recycling services.

San Francisco-based clothier Levi Strauss & Co has expanded its clothing recycling initiative to all Levi’s mainline and outlet stores in the United States.

As part of the effort, Levi Strauss has expanded its partnership with the Swiss textiles recycler I:Collect (I:CO). The company specializes in reuse and recycling of apparel, footwear and other textiles.

“We admire Levi Strauss & Co.'s vision and impressive sustainability efforts. We are proud to be expanding our partnership to increase consumer access to clothing and shoe recycling opportunities,” says Jennifer Gilbert, I:CO USA chief marketing officer. “This in-store take back program not only makes it easy for consumers to recycle their unwanted items, but also helps create much-needed awareness about the challenge of textile waste and the aim to keep these items in an everlasting cycle.”

I:CO says its processes include sorting clothing and shoes, upcycling, reuse and recycling textiles into fibers for insulation and padding.

Under the Levi Strauss recycling program, consumers may drop off any brand of clean, dry clothing or shoes in the collection boxes at their local Levi’s store to receive a discount voucher. The company says the effort is way to underscore its commitment to sustainability by reducing the volume of waste sent to landfills and creating an infrastructure that supports achieving a circular economy by 2020.

“We’re thinking about sustainability across all facets of our business and how to shift consumer behavior to make recycling clothing the norm,” says Michael Kobori, vice president of sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co. “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.”

Other Levi Strauss sustainability initiatives include its 2014 pilot of Wellthread, a 100 percent recyclable product created from cotton, and its 2013 launch of the Levi’s Waste>Less collection of products made of 20 percent postconsumer waste —specifically, recycled plastic bottles.