Monday, February 4, 2013
Levi's Goes Eco With WaterLess and WasteLess Jeans
During the production process, an usual typical jeans product takes an average of three to 10 spins in washers and dryers to give it its unique appearance. Roughly 42 liters of water is being used during the finishing process alone. In action to represent ongoing commitment for sustainable design, Levi Strauss & Co. introduced Water<Less jeans in 2010. The company created a finishing technique that reduces water use in the finishing process by average of 28 percent less water and up to 96 percent for some styles. To slash water use, Levi's use a single wet-cycle process to replace the multiple wash cycles. The company also incorporated ozone processing and stone washing to produce the product. Techniques by using ceramic stones, rubber balls and changing the filtration system in the washing machines, made jeans finishing process to use only four liters of water to achieve the distressed look. Levi's claimed that the Water<Less collection saved more than 360 million liters of water so far. It is just equivalent to the volume of 144 Olympic-size swimming pools.
As part of Spring 2013 collection, Levi's is launching a new line of jeans product that feature plastic bottles crushed up and blended through the product. Waste<Less jeans are composed at least 20% recycled plastic. On average, eight 12 to 20-ounce bottles will be used per jeans. Used plastic bottles and food trays are collected through municipal recycling programs across the United States. They are sorted by color, crushed into flakes, and made into a polyester fiber. Next, the polyester fiber is blended with cotton fiber, which is finally woven with traditional cotton yarn to create the denim used in the Levi’s Waste<Less jeans. The color of the bottles used created a unique finish in the final product by adding a beautiful undertone to the denim fabric. The first batch of Waste‹Less jeans has already used 3.5 million plastic bottles all together.
James Curleigh, president of the Levi’s brand, believes that any reduction in Levi’s cotton use, however small, is worth it. He said “Cotton is the single most volatile commodity in the apparel industry. Never mind sustainability for a minute. If I could come up with a way to put 20 percent of something else that is cost-neutral and has a reliable source, I would probably take it anyway.”
So is it true that Levi's is trying hard to pursue sustainability in its supply chain? Or this is just another good publicity for the company. What are customer responses about these products? Do they like these products? Yet Levi's didn't mention about its financial benefit related with these products. What do you think?