Levi Strauss & Co. expands CLOTHING RECYCLING INITIATIVE to Canada


Introduction of In-Store Recycling Program to Canadians Continues Company Goal to Reduce Textiles Consumers Send to Landfills Each Year

SAN FRANCISCO (July 28, 2016) – Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) today announced the expansion of its clothing recycling initiative to all Levi’s® mainline and outlet stores in Canada. The company is making it easier for consumers to recycle clothing and shoes, underscoring its commitment to sustainability by reducing the volume of waste sent to landfills and creating an infrastructure that supports a circular economy.

Consumers may drop-off any brand of clean, dry clothing or shoes in the collection boxes at their local Levi’s® store. Any consumer who brings an item of clothing to recycle will receive a voucher for 20 percent off a single, regular-priced Levi’s® item in-store.

“We’re thinking about sustainability across all facets of our business and how to shift consumer behavior to make recycling clothing the norm,” said Michael Kobori, vice president of sustainability at LS&Co. “As an industry leader, we consider all phases of our product lifecycle, including stages beyond our direct control like the product’s end point. Collecting used clothing at our stores makes it simple and easy for consumers to do their part and builds upon our commitment to do the right thing for the environment.”

Expanding clothing and shoe recycling is the latest endeavor in LS&Co.’s broader sustainability goal of creating an infrastructure that supports a circular economy by 2020. In the apparel industry, this refers to designing a product from cradle-to-cradle rather than cradle-to-grave. For example, in 2014, with its pilot of Wellthread™, LS&Co. designers created 100% recyclable product from a single fiber – cotton – that not only met durability expectations of consumers, but could also be easily remade into new garments. Recycling clothing by separating fibers and creating new garments reduces the need for virgin cotton, generating significant water and other environmental resource saving.

Each year, 24 billion pounds of discarded textiles end up in U.S. landfills. The good news is almost 95 per cent of them can be recycled. In Canada, the waste is far less, but the need to recycle is equally as important as our industry becomes more conscious of our resources that also help with our production. Levi’s® is ensuring that raw materials from old clothes and shoes are put to new uses and reduce the amount of waste that is created when it comes to individuals disposing of clothing.

 Levi’s® has specific goals in mind for the future surrounding product sustainability. Levi Strauss & Co.  plans to continue working with its global suppliers to sustainably source 100 per cent of its cotton by 2020.  The Levi’s® brand also aims to make 80 per cent of its products using Water<Less™ techniques by the year 2020 as well. This technique allows the design process to approach decisions in a different way, ultimately reducing the amount of water used by the finishing process – which is essential in all steps of garment creation.  As a result, Levi’s® is working hard to support the circular economy and clothing recycling initiatives like this takes the organization one step closer to bettering its products and focusing on how it can reduce waste on all levels.

The company has taken great efforts to understand the environmental impact of its products through two lifecycle assessments. Since then, LS&Co. has made strides in reducing its water usage, saving more than 1 billion liters of water through its Water<Less™ finishing process, which the company recently publicly shared to encourage water conservation across the apparel industry. LS&Co. is also educating consumers about reducing water and energy consumption through the introduction of the Care Tag for Our Planet in 2009 and the “Are You Ready to Come Clean” quiz in 2015. Diverting old garments from landfill while making it easy for consumers to do their part is the company’s next step to realizing a more sustainable future through closed loop products.

The expanded program builds upon an ongoing partnership with I:Collect (I:CO), an end-to-end solutions provider for reuse and recycling of apparel, footwear and other textiles. “We admire Levi Strauss & Co.’s vision and impressive sustainability efforts. We are proud to be expanding our partnership to increase consumer access to clothing and shoe recycling opportunities,” said Jennifer Gilbert, I:CO USA’s Chief Marketing Officer. “This in-store take back program not only makes it easy for consumers to recycle their unwanted items, but also helps create much-needed awareness about the challenge of textile waste and the aim to keep these items in an everlasting cycle.”

I:CO provides a global solution for preventing collected items from becoming waste by diverting them from landfills. The company has best-in-class procedures for sorting clothing and shoes — wearable items are resold and re-worn, while other pieces are reused as products such as cleaning cloths, recycled into fibers for insulation and paddings or upcycled into new products.

The product does have to be returned to a Levi’s® location. All Levi’s® locations in Canada will accept any brand of clothing and shoes, no matter the condition, as long as items are clean and dry. Individuals can place items in the collection box individually or wrapped in a bag. In doing so, individuals who participate in this initiative will receive 20 per cent off one full-priced Levi’s® item in store. The limit is one voucher per day per customer.  

About Levi Strauss & Co.
Levi Strauss & Co. is one of the world's largest brand-name apparel companies and a global leader in jeanswear. The company designs and markets jeans, casual wear and related accessories for men, women and children under the Levi's®, Dockers®, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co.™, and Denizen® brands. Its products are sold in more than 110 countries worldwide through a combination of chain retailers, department stores, online sites, and a global footprint of approximately 2,800 retail stores and shop-in-shops. Levi Strauss & Co.'s reported fiscal 2015 net revenues were $4.5 billion. For more information, go to http://levistrauss.com.

About I:Collect (I:CO®)
I:Collect (I:CO) is a solutions provider for apparel, footwear and other textiles reuse and recycling. Through its innovative retail takeback system and worldwide infrastructure, I:CO aims to keep consumers’ used clothing and shoes in a closed loop production cycle where these goods can be reprocessed and reused again and again. This reduces waste, preserves material resources, protects the environment and enables sustainable consumption. I:CO has takeback programs with more than 60 retail partners on six continents. Visit www.ico-spirit.com.

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21 comments

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