Own too many jeans to count? You’re not alone. Here’s how to give old jeans a second life.

I went through my closet the other day. The amount of jeans I own is slightly absurd, and I have a feeling that’s pretty typical.

The denim industry is a huge one. Worldwide, over 1 BILLION pairs of jeans are sold each year.


Image via Chris RubberDragon/Flickr.

That denim demand isn’t easy on the environment. It takes 1,800 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to make a single pair of jeans. And that doesn’t even account for the water used to make and distribute them! The State of the Apparel Sector reports that the full water footprint for a single pair of jeans is about 2,866 gallons. Yes, that’s a lot.

Now, while our planet is made primarily of water, we’ve seen time and time again that it’s not a resource to be taken lightly — National Geographic points out that “in essence, only 0.007 percent of the planet's water is available to fuel and feed its 6.8 billion people.” Yikes.

And according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American tosses about 80 pounds of textiles annually. Given how many jeans are sold each year, you can bet they make up a significant portion of that waste.

Image via Adam Levine/Flickr.

It’s not like denim “goes bad.” So, instead of tossing it, what can we do when it’s time to retire our collection?

Fortunately, there are a ton of ways to give denim a second life! From companies that are using their corporate power for good to crafty people who show us how to transform old jeans into everyday objects, there’s an option for anyone who wants to take a small step toward keeping this planet in functioning order. And we are living in the internet age after all — there are a ton of DIY blogs and videos online to help the less-skilled along. Here are some of my favorites.

There are companies finding unique ways to cut down on waste:

Levi's & Evrnu

Levi's is pretty much synonymous with jeans. And while they benefit from our denim fervor, they’re also well aware of the effect of textile waste on the environment. So they got creative. Partnering with Evrnu, they created jeans from discarded T-shirts. Yes, they literally turned T-shirts into jeans. Their website states that “the cutting-edge method not only converts consumer waste into renewable fiber, it also uses 98 percent less water than virgin cotton products, according to Evrnu data.”

This is still an early prototype, but for so many, it's already proven its worth. In a release, Paul Dillinger, head of global product innovation at Levi Strauss & Co. said,

"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. ... 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."

That’s good on so many levels. Less water used, less waste produced, and out of it all, an eco-friendly pair of jeans is produced. That’s a nice loop.

These creative projects could be a fun way to hold onto that pair of jeans.

You know, the pair with the hole in the side that no longer fits, but which you’d never get rid of ... because memories.

Potholders

I have a knack for destroying potholders. I’ve accidentally seared quite a few by leaving them on or near the stove, so I was pretty pumped to see that my old jeans could be a solution to that ongoing problem.

Image via Mary Turner/Flickr.

Skinny jeans

Commatose blog shared a great trick. With the help of a sewing machine and some patience, old, baggy jeans can become stylish skinny jeans. The best part? The jeans are completely tailored to your body and your preferred fit because you get to make them exactly the way you like them.

Image via Free People/Flickr.

Picnic quilt

Cutesycrafts blog blew me away with this DIY quilt and versatile carrying strap. The quilt is adorable and perfect for the summer months when we want to sit outside in the park but aren't quite sure whether that green patch of grass is a smart choice or every dog's favorite poop spot. And the carrier? Well that's the best part — it can be used to carry just about anything that you can fold and fit into the straps.

Image via Cutesy Crafts, used with permission.

And for those of us who aren't great with a sewing kit, there are a lot of easy ways to donate:

Thrift stores

Thrift stores offer a ton of options for turning in your old denim. Some will even pick up the clothes from your house! They resell what they can and recycle what can't be salvaged.

And if you're wondering what happens to your dscarded denim once it's donated, companies like Blue Jeans Go Green are doing pretty cool things, like making denim insulation — yes, that's a thing! Picture your old pants keeping families warm as the temperatures drop. And they don't stop there. A portion of the insulation created is provided to communities in need. Doing good all around.

The options are endless, really.


Image via Maria Morri/Flickr.

Whatever you choose to do, giving denim as long of a life as possible seems like something the environment will thank us for later.

The fact that only 0.007% of the world’s water supply is available sounds bleak, but with a little creativity — and the help of corporate powers stepping up to the plate — it doesn’t have to be.

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Truth

Don't test on animals. That's something we can all agree on, right? No one likes to think of defenseless cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds being exposed to a bunch of things that could make them sick (and the animals aren't happy about it, either). It's no wonder so many people and organizations have fought to stop it. But did you ever think that maybe brands are testing products on us too, they're just not telling us they're doing it?

I know, I know, it sounds like a conspiracy theory, but that's exactly what e-cigarette brands like JUUL (which corners the e-cigarette market) are doing in this country right now, and young people are on the frontlines of the fallout. Most people assume that the government would have looked at devices that allow people to inhale unknown chemicals into their lungs BEFORE they hit the market. You would think that someone in the government would have determined that they are safe. But nope, that hasn't happened. And vape companies are fighting to delay the government's ability to evaluate these products.

So no one really knows the long-term health effects of e-cigarette use, not even JUUL's CEO, nor are they informing the public about the potential risks. On top of that, according to the FDA, there's been a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage among high school and middle school-aged children in just the last two years, prompting the U.S. Surgeon General to officially recognize the trend as an epidemic and urge action against it.

These facts have elicited others to take action, as well.

Truth Initiative, the nonprofit best known for dropping the real facts about smoking and vaping since 2000 through its truth campaign. We don't do PSAs. We also need to update so to explain truth – the nonprofit behind the truth youth smoking prevention campaign – you could also say this in a funny way – best known for sharing the facts about smoking and vaping or pull from some old campaigns. Just layer in a description of truth and who the campaign is., is now on a mission to confront e-cigarette brands like JUUL about the lack of care they've taken to inform consumers of the potential adverse side effects of their products. And they're doing it with the help of animal protesters who are tired of seeing humans treated like test subjects.

The March Against JUUL | Tested On Humans | truth www.youtube.com

"No one knows the long-term effects of JUULing so any human who uses one is being used as a lab rat," says, appropriately, Mario the Sewer Rat.

"I will never stop fighting JUUL. Or the mailman," notes Doug the Pug, the Instagram-famous dog star.

Truth, the national counter-marketing campaign for youth smoking prevention, hopes this fuzzy, squeaky, snorty animal movement arms humans with the facts about vaping and inspires them to demand transparency from JUUL and other e-cigarette companies. You can get your own fur babies involved too by sharing photos of them wearing protest gear with the hashtag #DontTestOnHumans. Here's some adorable inspo for you:

The dangerous stuff is already out there, but with knowledge on their side, young people will hopefully make the right choices and fight companies making the wrong ones. If you need more convincing, here are the serious facts.

Over the last decade, 127 e-cigarette-related seizures were reported, which prompted the FDA to launch an official investigation in April 2019. Since then, over 215 cases of a new, severe lung illness have sprung up all over the country, with six deaths to date. While scientists aren't yet sure of the root cause, the majority of victims were young adults who regularly vaped and used e-cigarettes. As such, the CDC has launched an official investigation into the potential link.

Sixteen-year-old Luka Kinard, a former frequent e-cigarette-user, is one of the many teens who experienced severe side effects. "Vaping was my biggest addiction," he told NowThis. "It lasted for about 15 months of my high school career." In 2018, Kinard was hospitalized after having a seizure. He also had severe nausea, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

After the harrowing experience, he quit vaping, and began speaking out about his experience to help inform others and hopefully inspire them to quit and/or take action. "It shouldn't take having a seizure as a result of nicotine addiction like I had for teens to realize that these companies are taking advantage of what we don't know," Kinard said.

Teens are 16 times more likely to use e-cigarettes than adults, and four times more likely to take up traditional smoking as a result, according to truth, and yet the e-cigarette market remains virtually unregulated and untested. In fact, companies like JUUL continue to block and prevent FDA regulations, investing more than $1 million in lawyers and lobbying efforts in the last quarter alone.

Photo by Lindsay Fox/Pixabay

Consumers have a right to know what they're putting in their bodies. If everyone (and their pets) speaks up, the e-cigarette industry will have to make a change. Young people are already taking action across the country. They're hosting rallies nationwide and on October 9 as part of a National Day of Action, young people are urging their friends and classmates to "Ditch JUUL." Will you join them?

For help with quitting e-cigarettes, visit thetruth.com/quit or text DITCHJUUL to 88709 for free, anonymous resources.

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The problem: The list included 99 men and one woman. For those not so good with the math, that means according to Forbes, only 1% of the country's most innovative leaders are female.

Have you ever watched a movie that's so abysmally bad that you wonder how it ever even got made? Where you think, "Hundreds and hundreds of people had to have been directly involved in the production of this film. Did any of them ever think to say, 'Hey, maybe we should just scrap this idea altogether?"

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