Textile technology startup Evrnu™, SPC and global jeanswear leader Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) today announced they have created the world’s first jean made from regenerated post-consumer cotton waste. Using a new, patent-pending recycling technology, discarded consumer waste is converted into renewable fiber. The first prototype, in the form of a pair of iconic Levi’s® 511® jeans, represents a future where textile waste is reduced considerably and cotton garments are continually regenerated to create a more sustainable world.
Each year in the U.S. alone, 13.1 million tons of textile waste is created and of this 11 million tons ends up in landfills. Until now, there hasn’t been a viable solution that effectively transforms old clothes into new without compromising quality or strength. With Evrnu technology, discarded cotton clothing can be turned into a new cotton-like fiber, creating new possibilities.
The Levi’s® jean prototype, developed by Evrnu and the LS&Co. innovation team, was created from approximately five discarded cotton T-shirts and uses 98 percent less water than virgin cotton products, based on Evrnu data. Both companies are aligned on the vision of creating a circular economy that extends the life of cotton and eliminates waste by breathing new life into used clothing.
“LS&Co. was the perfect first partner for us to demonstrate our technology and capability as they are an iconic American company with a product that's recognized around the world,” says Evrnu CEO Stacy Flynn. “Our aspiration is to build a pair of Levi's jeans that are just as beautiful and strong as the original and we’re making great progress toward that goal.”
“This first prototype represents a major advancement in apparel innovation. We have the potential to reduce by 98 percent the water that would otherwise be needed to grow virgin cotton while giving multiple lives to each garment,” said Paul Dillinger, head of global product innovation at Levi Strauss & Co. “Although early days, this technology holds great promise and is an exciting advancement as we explore the use of regenerated cotton to help significantly reduce our overall impact on the planet.”
LS&Co. was the first apparel company to partner with Evrnu and apply their industry-altering technology into a garment. Evrnu executives expect that LS&Co.’s participation will improve investor awareness and represents the first step towards future commercialization of their garment recycling technology.
For LS&Co., this collaboration is part of a wider innovation and sustainability strategy. LS&Co. recently open sourced its Water<Less® finishing techniques globally to increase adoption across the apparel industry and reduce water consumption overall. The company is also taking a more holistic approach to sustainable product design with its Wellthread® products which consider social, environmental and economic sustainability factors.
Through its lifecycle assessment, LS&Co. identified that the cotton growing stage has the biggest impact on water use during the product’s life. At 68 percent of the total water used in the lifecycle of a pair of jeans, cotton presents the biggest opportunity.
“By tackling water conservation through new fiber innovation, the apparel industry has the opportunity to significantly reduce its water footprint,” Dillinger continued. “As technologies such as Evrnu evolve over time, there will be greater opportunities to accelerate the pace of change towards a closed loop apparel industry.”
About Evrnu™, SPC
Evrnu™ is a social purpose corporation registered in the State of Washington, USA and founded in 2014 for the purpose of addressing the problem of the resource-intensive, environmentally negative impact of the textile & apparel industries. The Evrnu technology safely converts post-consumer cotton garment waste by breaking down to the molecular level and converting in to a high quality, premium textile fiber. For more information, go to: http://www.evrnu.com
About Levi Strauss & Co.
Levi Strauss & Co. is one of the world's largest brand-name apparel companies and a global leader in jeanswear. The company designs and markets jeans, casual wear and related accessories for men, women and children under the Levi's®, Dockers®, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co.™, and Denizen® brands. Its products are sold in more than 110 countries worldwide through a combination of chain retailers, department stores, online sites, and a global footprint of approximately 2,800 retail stores and shop-in-shops. Levi Strauss & Co.'s reported fiscal 2015 net revenues were $4.5 billion. For more information, go to http://levistrauss.com.