Thursday, October 22, 2009

Levi's - Caring For Our Planet

Mom is kind of old school when it comes to jeans. She isn't into the fancy designer labels because she is more concerned with fit and comfort than fashion. She still loves Levi's after all these years and wears them more than any other brand. When I told her about this new program that Levi's started she told me that I should tell you guys about it.

Levi Strauss is teaming up with Goodwill to educate consumers on how to lower the lifecycle impact of their jeans. What does this mean exactly? It means that Levi's wants you to take care of your jeans so that they last longer. They also want to offer you options on what to do with your jeans when they have worn out their welcome. The longer you (or someone else) have your jeans, the less impact they will have on the planet. The idea is to make them last as long as possible. I know this sounds counter intuitive to a successful business model but caring about the environment is good for business.

The new initiative, A Care Tag for Our Planet, includes online and in-store messaging and beginning in January 2010 will include new care tags on all jeans. The tags will encourage you to wash your jeans (as well as all your clothes) in cold water, line dry them, wash them less frequently (using common sense of course), and donate them to Goodwill (or any other type of store or non-profit) when you no longer want/need them.

Cold water washing is a hard option for most people to undertake, so Mom suggests washing every other load in cold water at first. Heating water for use in your washing machine uses a lot of energy and isn't really necessary. Soon you will wonder why you ever used warm (or hot) water in the first place. Washing clothes less frequently ensures your clothes will last longer because washing takes a real toll on most clothes. According to Levi's, washing in cold water and line drying can reduce the lifecycle climate change impacts from jeans by more than 50 percent.

Levi Strauss has been in the jean making business for over 155 years. They are committed to sustainability and were the first in their industry to set labor and environmental requirements for the partners who create their clothes. We all remember reading a few years ago about sweatshop labor practices that some labels employ. These practices are worse than you can imagine and it's great to see companies not give in to this way of doing business.

They've also set standards for water quality in their manufacturing locations. Worldwide, manufacturing uses more water than any other business and what is in the used water and where it end up is anyone's guess, but not Levi's. By setting forth sound business principles, they've shown the rest of the world that they care about what happens to the water onces it leaves their facilities. Not only what where it goes but what's in it. This is water that people will drink, bathe in, and water their crops with. This water must be clean and it is the responsibility of the manufacturers to ensure that it is.

By being committed to achieving carbon neutrality, they are reducing their energy consumption, thus moving to the use of 100 percent renewable energy. Yeah! Renewable energy is where it's at!

The cotton industry is the most pesticide laden industry in the world and three years ago Levi's came out with an organic cotton line of denim called Levi's Eco. The cost of these jeans is slightly higher than traditional cotton jeans, but they are better for the environment overall. Think about it this way, all those pesticides that are used to grow the cotton are still in the fibers of the jeans you are wearing. Pesticides on your clothes means pesticides on you.

As if all this weren't enough, Levi's is also piloting projects in which they recycle old jeans to use as building insulation and other materials. Mom and I have seen old jeans being used as insulation in houses on HGTV and we both thought it was a great idea but we didn't know who was behind it. Kudos to everyone who thinks outside the box to reuse and repurpose everyday items.

Okay, now for some quick facts from the Levi's website:

The average person in the US throws away 68 pounds of clothing and textiles a year. 68 pounds! That's like 3 pugs! Why is it that people throw out so much? Why don't they give it away or recycle it? One man's trash is always another man's treasure, so please think twice about throwing your clothes away.

Almost half of the water that is used throughout the life of a pair of jeans takes place after you bring them home from the store. This fact shocked Mom because cotton is the most water intensive crop that is grown. In fact, growing cotton accounts for 2.6% of the world’s yearly water usage. Just for cotton! According to, it takes around 1,800 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to produce just one pair of jeans. The bottom line is, you are using more than 1,800 gallons of water just by washing your jeans.

Even if you don't wear Levi's, this information is for you. It's for everyone because we are all in this together.


THE PUGLET said...

People really throw 3 pugs worth of clothes away? That's not so smart.

Donating is sooo easy and your local thrift store might just give you cookies for doing it. Ours does and they are yum-my. I'm always bugging my human to give stuff away so I can get more cookies.

Melissa and Emmitt said...

hi stubby!
what a wonderful post. i love that companies like levi's are thinking this way. only good things can come from it.

thank you for spreading the word!

m & e

Salinger The Pug said...

Great post Stubby!!!

Who throws away clothes??? That's crazy! Mom and dad are always all amped up for the receipts they get for the tax deduction from Goodwill!!!

We thought your post was going to be about the insulation for your house made out of jeans! You fooled us!

BTW, Holden's teacher gave the kids PENCILS made of recycled jeans! How cool!

Happy Friday Dude!


Pearl said...

Hi Stubby! Is that a new picture of you on your sidebar surfing, or did I just notice it? It is so cute!

Anyway, great post! We wash all of our clothes in cold water, and momma line dries all her jeans (because she is 5'10" and they all get too short if she dries them, AND because it saves energy!). We just took a HUGE load of clothes to Goodwill last week, too!

I hope you have a great weekend!!

dw said...

Hi Stubby! I love Levi jeans! They're the only ones that really fit well and are sturdy enough to put up with me. Thanks for the info on the "caring for the planet" campaign. Oh, and I think there's some "green" things going on this weekend. I just read something in the paper about the International Climate Action Day on Saturday, spearheaded by

Sequoia & Petunia said...

We always use cold water! We haven't had any problems with washing either. Thanks Stubby!

Stubby said...

Hi Puglet! You are right - 3 pugs worth of clothes is not so smart.

Mom and Dad usually take their clothes to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. I've never gone to these places which explains why I've not gotten cookies. Next time Mom goes I'm going with. I love cookies.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Melissa & Emmitt! You are absolutely right that only good things can come from this way of thinking. Change is slow, but hopefully like other ideas, companies will get on board.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hey Salinger! Yes, people really do throw out clothes. I guess some people don't need the tax deductions like we do.

Mom would definitely insulate the house with jeans if it needed it but Dad told her that the house is perfectly insulated. Pair that with a little furnace of a pug and you are toasty warm at night.

That's so cool that Holden's teacher gave the kids pencils made from recycled jeans. Some teachers are so smart.

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Pearly Poo! Yes that is a new picture of me. I decided to change things up and chose that picture because that's where I spend most of my day. Mom and Dad got me that surfboard rug on one of their trips to Hawaii and when I'm on it they say I'm surfing. Anything to keep the crazy parents happy!

Great job washing all your clothes in cold water and line drying them. You are saving lots of energy Pearly and I'm so proud of you. And you took clothes to Goodwill last week? You rock!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi dw! You are old school too! How funny that Levi's are the only ones to put up with you. I think Mom would agree with you on that.

Thanks for the heads up about the stuff this weekend. There's so much this weekend with Make a Difference Day and Climate Action Day. Maybe we should change the name to Make a Difference with your Climate Action day!

Stubby xoxo

Stubby said...

Hi Sequoia & Petunia! Kudos to you guys for washing your clothes in cold water. Hopefully this is catching on soon everyone will do it.

Stubby xoxo

Tweedles -- that's me... said...

Hi Stubby
Thank you for passing the word onto us.
Levis will always be the best- we think.
And we always wash in cold water.
Mom has a 30 year old levi jacket that she won't part with- nope never.

Stubby said...

Hi Tweedles! Levi's are the best and I don't blame your mom for not wanting to part with a 30 year old jean jacket. It's broken in and fits perfect so why get rid of it?

Thanks for washing your clothes in cold water. You are saving precious energy each and every day.

Stubby xoxo