Clean Your Jeans in the Freezer? Levis is Making More Jeans with Less Water
A typical pair of blue jeans consumes 919 gallons of water during its life cycle, which is enough water to fill 5 spa-size bathtubs. This water includes the irrigation of the cotton, stitching the fabric, and washing them. This past year, a new line of Levis jeans have been developed with future water shortages in mind.
The Levis company is planning ahead, for future water shortages caused by climate change that could make cotton too expensive or scarce, and possibly bankrupt the company. Behind each pair of jeans is two pounds of cotton.
Some new changes include developing a new non-profit program to teach farmers in India, Pakistan, Brazil and West and Central Africa new irrigation and rainwater-capture techniques. Another new development is new stone-washed denim which is smoothed with rocks but does not use any water.
The reason for the company’s interest in conserving water began last year when floods in Pakistan and a drought in China ruined cotton crops and made prices higher. This increase of droughts and floods support the predicted patterns of global warming.
The cotton grown with the new farming methods is called by Levis Strauss as the “better cotton” initiative. About 5% of the cotton used in the two million pairs of jeans made this fall was grown with the sustainable method. The company wants that number to rise to 20% by 2015.
All Levis jeans have new tags in them that suggest that the owner wash them less and only use cold water. Wash your jeans less? Is there an alternative to wearing dirty and stinky pants? One way to get them clean is to put them in the freezer, a practice that will kill germs that cause them to smell.
I’ve been wearing my Levis jeans for 2-3 days now. Tonight, I am going to try the freezer method to clean them – and will report back how it works.