Levi Strauss & Co., Evrnu partner to launch jeans made from cotton garment waste

As part of Levi Strauss & Co’s sustainability strategy, the company has partnered with textile startup Evernu to create the first pair of jeans made from recycled post-consumer cotton, or old tee shirts.


Closed loop denim manufacturiing. Photo: Evrnu

Closing the loop has become a major issue for large scale manufacturers like Levis. Evernu reports that 13.1 million tons of textile waste are created each year in the US. 11 million tons of that waste end up in our country’s landfills.

The prototype recycled Levis were created out of a patent pending process using 5 discarded cotton tees, and used 98% less water than it takes to process traditional virgin cotton. With cotton accounting for 2/3 of the water needed for denim manufacturing, this offers a great potential way that Levis can reduce its global environmental impact.

Paul Dillinger, head of global product innovation at Levi Strauss & Co. said, “[t]his first prototype represents a major advancement in apparel innovation. We have the potential to reduce by 98 percent the water that would otherwise be needed to grow virgin cotton while giving multiple lives to each garment.”

Dillinger noted that while it’s still in the early phases of development, “this technology holds great promise and is an exciting advancement as we explore the use of regenerated cotton to help significantly reduce our overall impact on the planet.”

Evernu is a textile startup based in Washington State. It was founded in 2014 with the goal of addressing the environmental impact the garment industry currently leaves, and is charged with creating technologies that help close the loop on the footprint of apparel manufacturing.

“LS&Co. was the perfect first partner for us to demonstrate our technology and capability as they are an iconic American company with a product that's recognized around the world,” says Evrnu CEO Stacy Flynn.

“Our aspiration is to build a pair of Levi's jeans that are just as beautiful and strong as the original and we’re making great progress toward that goal," said Flynn.

The hope is that other companies will see what Levis and Evrnu are working on, and will be inspired to change their practices for a more sustainable future for the entire industry.

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