Levi’s Denim Insulation

Recycled jeans inside the walls, and a challenge to design the best line-drying solution


The Levi’s headquarters in San Francisco is currently under renovation and while there are many changes and improvements in the works, an innovation that caught our attention was the use of recycled denim for building insulation. Levi’s first endeavor in this clever re-use was in 2008 for the Renzo Piano-designed California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, for which over 200,000 pairs of discarded jeans were used. To keep this initiative top-of-mind there are places throughout the office where plexiglass windows lend a glimpse of the denim in the walls.

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Among the ways Levi’s is sourcing denim to recycle is thru their partnership with Goodwill. Customers are encouraged to donate their jeans to the chain of thrift-stores and whatever isn’t purchased is scooped up by Levi’s for re-use.

Another facet of Levi’s Cares, their environmental initiative, is prompting customers to wash in cold water and line dry to reduce the energy consumption of caring for jeans. To push this along they’re currently holding a Care to Air Design Challenge that “seeks the world’s most innovative, covetable, and sustainable air-drying solution for clothing.” Entry deadline is 31 July 2010 and the prize is $10,000.