LEVI’S® LAUNCHES CLOTHING RECYCLING INITIATIVE IN EUROPE

Early last year, Levi Strauss & Co. saw the launch of a new clothing recycling initiative in the US that enabled consumers to recycle clothing and shoes in store in aid of reducing the volume of waste sent to landfills every year. 

From 2016 the Levi’s® brand will roll out the same initiative across Europe starting in the UK. From the beginning of the year, consumers in the UK can drop-off any brand of clean, dry clothing or shoes in a specially installed collection box at their local Levi’s® store and will receive a voucher for 10 percent off a single, regular-priced Levi’s® item in-store. Looking ahead to the future, the Levi’s® brand seeks to roll out the initiative across the rest of Europe by the end of 2017.

While many consumers are familiar with recycling bottles, cans and paper, many still throw away clothing.  Every year, the UK discards 350,000 tonnes of unwanted clothing into unsustainable landfills in the country.

“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 Levi Strauss & 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. In the apparel industry, this refers to designing a product with recycling in mind, so that a garment can extend its life through durability and repair, be downcycled into products like insulation, or upcycled into new garments. As a company, LS&Co. has worked to lessen the environmental impact of its products, for example, using Water<Less™ innovation to save more than 1 billion liters of water. Diverting old garments from landfills, while making it easier for consumers to do their part, is the company’s next step to realizing a more sustainable future through closed loop products.

The clothing recycling program in Europe builds upon an ongoing partnership with I:Collect (I:CO), a solutions service 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 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.”

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