By Wendy Gabriel on April 12, 2012

Utilizing 80% recycled cotton in its jeans, REUSE saves an incredible amount of resources, including an eye-opening amount of water for every pair.

REUSE Jeans is a wonderful company with a great background. REUSE (which is an acronym for “Recycle. Environment. U. Save. Earth.”) is a premium denim company that introduced its eco-friendly fashion line (for both women and men) that produces each pair of jeans from 80% recycled cotton in early 2010. These aren’t recycled jeans; they’re brand new jeans made from recycled cotton.

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The inspiration for the company began when its founder, George Powell, and his son were taking out the recycling. Powell had retired from the garment industry, but at that moment he realized the clothing business was creating a lot of needless waste and few companies were doing something about it. He then decided he wanted to get back in the business and make a difference. He started in China, where many major brands have their production facilities, and began to look at ways to reduce waste. From REUSEjeans.com:

“While it may seem counterintuitive, our production process takes place in China. As a region that has long been the center of inexpensive manufacturing, without regard to environmental preservation, China’s landfills are fraught with textile waste, while the air in many urban settings has been deemed unsafe. Notably, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, on certain days, one-fourth of the particulate matter (dust and soot) in Los Angeles originates from China. By helping to reverse the damage in China, we’re not only cleaning-up Asia, but we’re also contributing to a healthier Earth.”

“Step into a smaller carbon footprint one leg at a time.”
Powell and his team discovered a way to use the textile scraps that would otherwise be put in a landfill and recycle them into useable material to make new denim. Using 80% recycled cotton, REUSE's process saves approximately 2,560 gallons of water for every pair of men’s jeans produced (nope, that's not a typo). It takes around 1,600 gallons of water to grow 1 pound of cotton, and it takes about 2 pounds of cotton to produce one pair of men’s jeans.

The resulting recycled jeans help counteract the human effect of the disposable fashion industry, while contributing to a cleaner, more sustainable earth.

REUSE Jeans can be found in boutiques across the U.S., on its website and at the company’s two flagship stores: one in Laguna Beach, CA, and the other in Dallas.

About the author

Wendy Gabriel is a freelance eco-writer now based in Fresno, California. Gabriel and her work have been featured in numerous publications and websites including the Chicago Sun-Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fox Business News and Mashable.com. For nearly six years, she was a weekly contributor on a popular radio talk show in the Upper Midwest with a segment titled "Simple Tips for Green Living." Gabriel is an avid recycler, rainwater harvester, composter, thrifter and was instrumental in coordinating the planning and creation of a large mural made with recycled materials at a local elementary school in Fargo, North Dakota. Gabriel was the driving force behind starting a school garden program implemented at several Fargo schools. The founder of MyGreenSide.org and tweeting under @MyGreenSide, Gabriel has gone from the freezer (Fargo) to the furnace (Fresno) and could not be happier exploring California with the loves of her life, her husband and two daughters.
Learn more about Wendy Gabriel

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