Levi Strauss & Co. is offering discounts to consumers who bring their apparel and footwear to Levi’s U.S. stores and outlets for recycling.
An expansion of a program that has been used previously by the brand, Levi’s will provide a 20 percent-off sales voucher for any regular-priced Levi’s item to all consumers who bring “clean, dry” clothing for recycling to any of their U.S. stores and outlets.
Levi’s will also participate in the introduction of Friday Fashion Exchange events. To promote its new denim collection for women, any woman recycling jeans at a Levi’s mainline story on a Friday through Aug. 28 will receive an additional $10 off the purchase price of any item from the new collection.
Levi’s has 213 company-operated stores in the Americas region, the majority in the U.S. The recycling program had been used on a smaller scale in the past.
“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 life cycle, including stages beyond our direct control like the product’s end point.”
Levi’s estimated that Americans discard more than 28 billion pounds of unwanted clothing, footwear and textiles each year, about 70 pounds per U.S. resident. While charitable organizations collect about 15 percent of the total, that leaves about 24 billion pounds destined for landfills.
As for actions within Levi’s control, the company has reduced water usage through its Water<Less finishing process and expanded recycling opportunities through its pilot Wellthread program made from all-recyclable cotton.
Following its second Lifecycle Assessment study completed this year, Levi’s, which now uses Water<Less process in about a quarter of its products, pledged to move it into tops and other categories and increase the penetration of the program to 80 percent of its products by 2020.
The retail program builds on a continuing partnership with I:Collect, known as I:Co, which has partnerships in place with more than 60 retail partners and encourages consumers to participate in a “closed loop” production cycle in which apparel, footwear and textile products can be reprocessed and reused.
“This in-store take-back program not only makes it easy for consumers to recycle their unwanted items, but also helps create much need awareness about the challenge of textile waste and the aim to keep these items in an everlasting cycle.”