COTTON. FROM BLUE TO GREEN.®
The Cotton. From Blue to Green.® denim drive is a call-to-action to donate denim and give it "new life" by converting it into UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation. The insulation is then provided to communities in need to assist with building efforts. UltraTouch™ is composed of 85% recycled cotton fibers and is an environmentally safe, non-itch insulation without carcinogenic warnings, formaldehyde or chemical irritants. It provides exceptional thermal performance and acoustically provides 30% better sound absorption than traditional fiberglass insulation. In addition, it is one of the only insulating products that contain an active mold/mildew inhibitor.
The Cotton. From Blue to Green.® denim drive was first created in 2006 as part of Cotton Incorporated�s groundbreaking collegiate mobile marketing initiative Cotton's Dirty Laundry Tour®. The Cotton. From Blue to Green.® denim drive served as a grassroots student-run campaign to educate college coeds about the natural, renewable and recyclable attributes of denim.
In its first year, the Cotton. From Blue to Green.® denim drive doubled initial collection estimates - a total of 14,566 pieces of denim were collected nationwide. College students across the U.S. rallied their campuses and surrounding communities for donations. To begin the manufacturing process from denim to insulation, the first step was to send all of the denim to Allan Company, a leader in the recycling industry since 1963. From there, it was compressed into 1,000+ lb. bales and transported to JBM Fibers, a leading manufacturer of reprocessed fibers. Once the denim was processed and returned to its original cotton fiber state, it was ready for conversion by Bonded Logic Inc., the manufacturer of UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation.
As a result of the 2006 Cotton. From Blue to Green.® denim drive, and with the help of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge, in the spring of 2007, a total of 30 homes were built for families displaced by Hurricane Katrina. A team of volunteers from Cotton Incorporated helped install the donated UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation in 12 of these new homes.
Encouraged by our initial success, in spring 2007 the Cotton. From Blue to Green.® denim drive was tested to see if it would work as a stand-alone program rather than a component of Cotton's Dirty Laundry Tour®. Throughout the month of April, students at five universities nationwide collected over 4,000 pieces of denim, doubling all estimates set for this test.
In the fall of 2007, Cotton's Dirty Laundry Tour® was ready to hit the road, this time to 11 colleges and universities and was once again accompanied by the Cotton. From Blue to Green.® denim drive. The collection resulted in over 30,000 pieces of denim, surpassing 2006 numbers by 110%. More excitement grew as a retail extension for the Cotton. From Blue to Green.® denim drive kicked off with 35 G by GUESS specialty store locations. Customers were encouraged to donate their old denim to purchase the newest denim styles of the season through in-store signage, preferred customer parties, window displays and on-line activity. In total, over 36,000 pieces of denim were collected in 2007.
In May 2008, the total 2007 denim collection resulted in the production of 70,000 sq. ft. of UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation and was donated to the following Habitat for Humanity chapters to help build 75 homes:
Cotton Incorporated staff shared sweat equity with the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project and Habitat for Humanity volunteers to install UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation in over 30 homes built in the still-distressed 9th Ward/Musicians' Village area of New Orleans.
As the summer of 2008 rolled around, Cotton Incorporated renewed its partnership with G by GUESS specialty stores in celebration of the Cotton. From Blue to Green.® denim drive and the Warner Bros. theatrical release of "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2". The triad of partners leveraged the best of each as G by GUESS specialty stores (nationwide including Puerto Rico), held the Cotton. From Blue to Green.® denim drive. In the fall, six colleges and universities continued to pay it forward with their Cotton. From Blue to Green.® denim drive and as the word spread about this program, a new platform began to emerge.
Businesses and companies in various industries began to contact Cotton Incorporated for the opportunity to run the Cotton. From Blue to Green.® denim drive for their employees as they strove to fulfill corporate philanthropic missions. The Cotton. From Blue to Green.® denim drive has successfully provided a means for businesses to build employee morale and demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability. In total, over 38,000 pieces of denim were collected in 2008.
Over 75,000 sq. ft. of insulation was manufactured from the 2008 collections. Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Louisiana (Baton Rouge and New Orleans), Mississippi (Columbus and the Gulf Coast) and Galveston, TX received enough insulation to build approximately 75 houses.
In spring 2009, National Geographic Kids magazine asked readers around the world to donate their old jeans to set a Guinness World Record™ for "Most Items of Clothing Collected for Recycling." On August 12, 2009, the collection was announced in Washington, D.C. and the record was set at 33,088 pieces of denim. The denim collected through National Geographic Kids was donated to the Cotton. From Blue to Green.® denim drive.
In fall 2009, eight colleges and universities collected over 17,000 pieces of denim on behalf of the Cotton. From Blue to Green.® denim drive. In addition, teen specialty retailer Vanity collected denim in 200 stores. All stores and the website were blanketed with program information. Over the course of six weeks, customers donated over 105,000 pairs of jeans. Companies continued to turn in denim as part of corporate responsibility initiatives, with donations totaling over 23,000 pieces of denim. In total, over 180,000 pieces of denim were collected in 2009.
In 2010, various retailers including Gap, Rock & Republic and True Religion participated in the program. Gap held an extensive drive in all 1,000 of its North American stores during March and October of 2010. Consumers were rewarded with 30% off the purchase of new denim when they donated their old denim in-store. The program was a monumental success, and over 320,000 pieces of denim were collected through the Gap drive alone. Companies such as GMR Charlotte, DDB New York and KMPG Chicago and Milwaukee also held drives to encourage corporate responsibility in the workplace. Additionally, during the fall of 2010, five universities hosted the Cotton. From Blue to Green.® denim drive on campus in an effort to generate excitement among students and community members about recycling old denim. Overall, retail partners, corporate responsibility efforts, college programs and individuals collectively donated nearly 400,000 pairs of denim in 2010.
Cotton. From Blue to Green.® also launched the Grant Program in November of 2010, giving architects, builders, contractors and project developers the ability to register and apply for grants of UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation on CottonFromBlueToGreen.org. These grants of insulation are an effort to help community projects be more environmentally-friendly. If you have plans for a community based green building project, we encourage you to visit the Grant Program section of the website to learn more about the program and, if eligible, complete an application.