Levi’s has announced a new program which will let people bring back and recycle their old clothes. The fabrics will be used for stuffed animals and other items, QUARTZ reports.
The idea is simple, but ambitious. Levi’s will allow customers to drop off their cleaned and dry old clothes and footwear from any brand at their local Levi’s store. The condition of the clothing doesn’t matter, it can be torn even, but it has to be cleaned and dry.
Then I:Collect will… collect the clothes and recycle them. That happens at a special facility where the staff does the sorting by hand and into 300 categories. Items that can be worn again, are cleaned and resold. Clothing that is damaged will be repurposed.
One idea is to shred them and use them as insulation, filling for car seats and even filling for stuffed animals. Other fabrics can be turned back into fiber and reused to make new clothes and other items. The goal of Levi’s is to use old clothes to the fullest. Currently a whopping 10.5 million tons of clothing heads to the landfills each year in the US alone. This is a huge pile of fabrics that can be reused.
Levi’s is hoping to have the complete infrastructure across its stores in the Americas, Europe and Asia by 2020. The stores are more than 500 and while they probably won’t receive all of the old clothes, the hope is they would receive enough to make a real impact.
There are technical challenges in the manufacturing process, too, but the company is working on sorting them out. The biggest challenge would be to get the people in the mindset of recycling. Most people don’t even realize the possibility of doing that with their old clothes. Levi’s will be offering a voucher for 20% off a purchase if they recycle their old clothes.
Either way, it is worth a try. Plus if you do that, you might help get some new, cheaper and more environmentally friendly stuffed animals out there, and that is always a good thing.