The Denim Dilemma


Everyone loves a new pair of jeans — the crisp feel, fit and fresh color is perfect for any season. Plus, new styles come out all the time, who wouldn’t want to own a dozen pairs? The average person owns six or seven pairs, according to a study by Cotton Incorporated.

Unfortunately, some denim manufacturers pollute rivers and oceans by dumping their dyes into them. So before you reach for discounted denim, think about the types of facilities where those pants were made. If they are made inexpensively in China, chances are, they were made in a factory that does not maintain environmentally safe clean up practices.

But there ARE ways to control your eco-impact. Buying fewer pairs of jeans of higher quality and recycling your pants is the first step to maintaining a better green philosophy for your closet.


The easiest way to make your friends or siblings happy -- and to recycle your jeans -- is to hand them down. By giving your jeans to a friend or relative, your denim will not only get a second life, you'll be sharing!

Before you give your pants away always remember to wash them and if you're friends aren't into the distressed look, you could have some minor damage repaired too.


If your friends aren't interested in wearing your used dungaree duds, not to worry, someone else will be so excited to wear that denim! You can donate your jeans to a variety of charities or secondhand stores like Goodwill.

Or, you could start your own denim drive with the help of Teens for Jeans, an organization dedication to gathering jeans for homeless teens across the U.S. Visit for more info.


Did you know that used denim can be recycled into cotton insulation for homes? That's right, your jeans could be used to keep families warm in their homes -- the eco-friendly way. Cotton Incorporated has a program where you can send in your jeans to be used for this process.

They explain how its done and who benefits. Check out Cotton From Blue to Green for more details about the benefits of recycling jeans and how it all works.


If you're sick of your jeans, but it's not quite time to find them a new home, you can always repair them. Minor fixes and size adjustments are simple and inexpensive, but they can make your old jeans feel like new again.

Check out Denim Therapy for ideas on how to refurbish your favorite pants!


Art is fun! Why not get creative with your jeans and turn them into an art project. Or, you can search for companies like They can turn your pants into sandals!

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