Recycle your Old Blue Jeans

blue jeans

Photo by permission of Ben Donley

Updated 1/7/2012:

What’s blue, made out of old recycled blue jeans, itch-free, and keeps you warm during the winter and cool in the summer?  No, not your favorite blue sweater or blanket!  Bonded Logic’s Ultra-touch insulation.  Previously, I have written about having this terrific insulation in my own home as sound insulation since it is itch-free and formaldehyde-free.  With four rambunctious boys and hardwood floors throughout the house, the noise level would be deafening.  I can’t tell you how much this demin insulation absorbs sounds especially in the basement!

As I mentioned in my Bonded Logic article, you can easily use this insulation for your exterior walls.  We chose to use Icynene, an open cell spray foam insulation, which we felt was a better insulator than the cotton insulation.

People have asked me in the past if you can send your blue jeans to Bonded Logic.  I have always replied “ no” since their insulation is made up of  blue jeans scraps from the factories.  I recently found out that this is not true.  There have been demin drives in the past as well as currently, where your old jeans could become someone else’s warmth.

  • Green Jeans Insulation Inc was collecting the jeans  to send them to Bonded Logic.  (Via  a tip from Jana’s Care 2 blog post citing Plenty magazine‘s article.)    However, Green Jeans indicated that  they are no longer taking the blue jeans.  This made me a little blue.
  • Certain universities are collecting old jeans  as participants in the Cotton, Blue to Green® Denim Campaign. The university campaigns are run by the students to educate their fellow  jean wearing students that cotton is  not only comfortable but is renewable and recyclable.  Those participating students are making an impact on the environment in their own way by recycling their jeans.
  • According to Sean Desmond, the Director of Sales and Marketing at Bonded Logic, the Company sponsors denim drives throughout the year.  The next drive is scheduled for April, 2009 in conjunction with National Geographic with a Washington DC centralized collection point.  Perhaps the White House? Stay tuned to Green Talk as this event is formally announced.
  • (New!) You can send your jeans directly to JBM Fiber in Brownville, Texas.  They are a leader in textile recycling and fiber conversion.   (You pay for shipping.) Before you run to the post office, I would suggest calling the company to confirm that this policy still exists.

What if you don’t want to send your jeans to be reused in insulation? Here are some other alternatives to recycle your jeans:

  • Donate them to a charity such as Goodwill.
  • Learn how to sew with denim.  Here is your chance with this helpful article.

Join the Conversation:

  • What are your ideas what to do with your old blue jeans?
  • Do you give away your jeans?  If so, where?
  • Are you crafty and remake your jeans?


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Comments

  1. 3

    says

    This is a really cool idea! I usually give them to charity (I still maintain this is the best solution, someone is always in need) but if it can be converted to insulation this has definite potential. Maybe someone can start a program for donations and then convert the jeans into insulation for a needy family or something. Great, regards!

  2. 5

    says

    This is a really cool idea! I usually give them to charity but if it can be converted to insulation this has definite potential. Maybe someone can start a program for donations and then convert the jeans into insulation for a needy family or something. Great, regards!

  3. 6

    Wendy says

    I was wondering if there is also a place where they would make insulation with socks, I have bags of them I can’t bring myself to send to the landfill, they have holes that can’t be darned but are washed and clean.

  4. 8

    lkjj says

    This is a really cool idea! I usually give them to charity but if it can be converted to insulation this has definite potential. Maybe someone can start a program for donations and then convert the jeans into insulation for a needy family or something. Great, regards!

  5. 12

    says

    This is a really cool idea! I usually give them to charity but if it can be converted to insulation this has definite potential. Maybe someone can start a program for donations and then convert the jeans into insulation for a needy family or something.

  6. 16

    ibdhiker says

    Wonderful site, thanks for the opportunity to post here. We have a small company here in Tennessee which recycles jeans. This year we have pledged 2000 pairs of jeans to the Children of Appalachia Project. We hope to increase that to 5000 pairs if we can get enough donations. These jeans are washed, repaired if necessary, seperated, sized, bagged and tagged. It is hard to believe how many children of Appalachia (upper East Tennessee) have so little to wear. These are children in grades K-12. It would break your heart to see how ragged some of these children look when they come for free clothing. We will then give them the opportunity to shop with “green-bucks” right off the racks we set up in the gymnasiums just as me and you enjoy the chance to do so every day in the stores when we shop. Many will “buy” jeans for their parents. Nobody will be turned away. The “green bucks” are presented to them free.

    I can give you the address if you would like to help us in our quest to assist these children. It is only a small part of what we are doing in our recycle program but it will make such a difference in the lives of so many. HUG, 157 Autumn Drive, Crossville, Tennessee 38571

    Can any of you help? Any jean works. No matter what style. No matter how ragged. Sure, they would like to have the latest greatest style. But OLD BEATS COLD! Any and all jeans would be appreciated. I can be contacted at hug@live.com or you can contact me directly at (931-337-5051) The Home Uprade Group, or on my personal cell phone at (931-261-9248) if you could help us out with some jeans or would be interested in doing a collection drive for us in your area.

    Thank you so much.

    Terry
    (ibdhiker)

  7. 18

    Internet Web Marketing says

    I usually use the back pockets from old jeans to make pockets to go on my fridge. The pockets hold notes, coupons, or other little odds and ends. :)

  8. 20

    honest casino says

    Does anyone have the pattern for a tablecloth that incorporates denim placemats into the actual tablecloth? One sewing magazine had the directions a few years ago but I can’t locate it again. This particular pattern also called for embroidered “ants” crawling across the center of the tablecloth.

  9. 21

    coach handbags says

    I typically donate my used jeans to the Salvation Army or the Kidney Foundation, and just throw away the ones that were not wearable. I always felt that this was a waste of material, but didnt’ know what else to do…turning used jeans into insulation has never crossed my mind until now. Thanks for the enlightenment!

    Reply More from author
    coach handbags´s last blog post ..Coach Handbags Tan For Women

  10. 22

    MonkeyMom says

    You can also turn your jeans into paper. I can’t remember the exact process, but you need to blend them with water. How long depends on how fine a grain you want. You take a fine screen attached to a wooden frame and using a container larger then the screen you screen the jean pulp from the water and let dry. And then you have jean paper. Great for crafts.

  11. 26

    raid 5 recovery says

    I never thought jeans could also be made into a reusable lunch box. But now that you just mentioned it, then it was just awesome.Thanks!

  12. 27

    says

    Who knew there were so many different things you could do? I have always just recycled them by giving them to charity, but that’s mostly because I never realized I had other options! What a lovely post!
    J.´s last blog post ..Today Im loving

  13. 28

    dee says

    i use my scrap denim pieces to make drink coasters. Cut out the round ( i use a pattern made from tracing a soup can) and then trim it with my home-made biase tape or serge the edges. When they get to gross i toss them in a lingerie bag and wash. I have also used it to make coffee wrappers/cozies, BBQ aprons, bibs, sleep masks (with/without rice), and one of my personal favorites is draft snakes – those things you put at the bottom of your doors to knock out the draft that the insulation never seems to quell. My larger pieces i cut out squares and make allll sorts of strange and wonderful things – piece together to make a sheet for various sewing projects (jackets, bags, table cloths, curtains) … Old jeans are some of my favorite things to ask my friends for. They get cool stuff back.

  14. 30

    canopy says

    Recycling old jeans is a great idea. Once I’ve worn by dungarees thin I usually turn them into jean shorts, which thankfully have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. Other than that I’ll take them to Goodwill so other people can get some use out of them. Thanks for the post!

  15. 31

    Agony says

    I usually use the back pockets from old jeans to make pockets to go on my fridge. The pockets hold notes, coupons, or other little odds and ends.

  16. 32

    Nivlem says

    After going through a mental list of creative ideas, i came upon denim (old jeans), since 1987 i have been making Denim Jewelry ( assortment of denim accessories. each is uniquely designed and excellent quality. Assortment of denim braclets, necklaces, earrings, neckties, rings and brooches. much of my work can be seen at differnt arts & craft shoes arund Atlanta.
    I MAKE YOU LOOK GOOD IN YOUR JEANS. Nivlem Denim Jewelry.

  17. 33

    says

    Thanks, Anna. Still exploring this site, and I love it. This article makes me remember the jean shoulder bags everyone had when I was a kid in the 70s. Would’ve never thought to use them for insulation. I like it ;-)

  18. 34

    diane fronek says

    do you know of any current blue jeans recycling drives going on ,particularly in the chicago area. I have been saving mine and dont want to waste them. thanks in advance for any info.

  19. 40

    says

    I have heard of recycling plastic, paper, glass, water, rubber, tire but never heard of recycling Jeans. Looks like an innovative idea to me :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Old jeans – Aside from donating your old jeans to charity, there are other uses being developed for denim. One of the most fascinating to me is turning those old blues into insulation for buildings. (Finding alternatives to fiberglass is also a way to reduce things like formaldehyde and cancer-causing agents in your home.) Green Talk posted an article about the many ways you can give your jeans a second life. [...]

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