By  on August 13, 2009

WASHINGTON — National Geographic Kids Magazine, with the help of Cotton Incorporated’s “Cotton From Blue to Green” campaign, established a Guinness world record on Wednesday for the most items of clothing collected for recycling.

The magazine issued a call in its May issue to readers to collect used denim jeans, shirts, jackets and hats. Actor Ben Stiller donated the first pair of jeans to the effort as guest editor of the issue.

The drive ended with one participant, nine-year-old Erek Hansen from Ohio, placing the final pair of jeans into an exhibit of the 33,088 items of clothing that were collected by individuals, families, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, school groups, churches and others. Hansen organized a denim drive in his school that netted nearly 1,700 pairs of jeans.

The success of the denim drive “attests to the civic-mindedness of today’s children,” said Paula Rosario, vice president of Cotton Incorporated Strategic Alliances.

The clothes will be displayed as part of an art installation at Washington’s Union Station until Aug. 27. After the exhibit closes, all the denim will be donated to Cotton Inc.’s denim drive that turns recycled jeans into Ultra Touch Natural Cotton Fiber Insulation for use in restoring and rebuilding homes damaged by natural disasters. Enough items were donated to insulate 60 homes.

According to Stuart Claxton of Guinness World Records, who verified the feat, the denim recycling project is not the first jeans-related record. Others include the biggest pair of jeans, which was 164 feet long, 118 feet wide and weighed one ton, and the most expensive jeans ever sold, a pair of original Levi’s 501s from the 19th century that was sold through online bidding for $60,000, Claxton said.

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