American clothing maker and denim specialist Levi Strauss & Co. has announced a new collection of denim apparel, including jeans, that will be comprised of a minimum 20 percent of plastics recycled from drinks bottles and food trays.
Levi's says that it is working with partners in the recycling sector to recover polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics, brown, green and clear drinks bottles as well as black plastic food trays. Having been sorted according to color, these are crushed (or, er, pelletized) into flakes and then drawn into polyester fiber which can be blended with cotton fiber before being woven with cotton yarn.
Because the color of the plastic is retained through the recycling process, the denim apparel takes on a hue (which Levi's describes it as a "beautiful undertone") – presumably according to the color of plastic chosen for the particular garment, rather than a muddy mixture of the lot.
Levi's says that an average of eight bottles (sized 12–20 oz.) will go into each pair of jeans. Given Levi's claim that the collection will make use of 3.5 million bottles, that mean the collection should include roughly half a million garments.
The company has announced that the collection, known as Waste<Less, will be available January 2013. The range is to be shipped worldwide, so those living outside the US (Levi's has confirmed to us the range will be made in North Carolina) and drawn to the sustainable credentials may wish to factor in air miles…