By PGS (Pinchot) alum turns waste cotton into Levi’s
Today, Stacy’s textile technology startup Evrnu™, SPC and global jeanswear leader Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) announced they have created the world’s first jean made from regenerated post-consumer cotton waste. Evrnu uses a new, patent-pending recycling technology to convert discarded consumer waste into renewable fiber. The first prototype, in the form of a pair of iconic Levi’s® 511® jeans, represents a future where textile waste is reduced considerably and cotton garments are continually regenerated to create a more sustainable world.
Each year in the U.S. alone, 13.1 million tons of textile waste is created and of this 11 million tons ends up in landfills. Until now, there hasn’t been a viable solution that effectively transforms old clothes into new without compromising quality or strength. Stacy started working to solve this problem while earning her MBA in Sustainable Systems at Pinchot University. Her efforts ultimately resulted in the Evrnu technology that can turn discarded cotton clothing into a new cotton-like fiber, creating new possibilities.
The Levi’s jean prototype, developed by Evrnu and the LS&Co. innovation team, was created from approximately five discarded cotton T-shirts and uses 98 percent less water than virgin cotton products, based on Evrnu data. Both companies are aligned on the vision of creating a circular economy that extends the life of cotton and eliminates waste by breathing new life into used clothing.
“LS&Co. was the perfect first partner for us to demonstrate our technology and capability as they are an iconic American company with a product that’s recognized around the world,” says Stacy. “Our aspiration is to build a pair of Levi’s jeans that are just as beautiful and strong as the original and we’re making great progress toward that goal.”
“This first prototype represents a major advancement in apparel innovation. We have the potential to reduce by 98 percent the water that would otherwise be needed to grow virgin cotton while giving multiple lives to each garment,” said Paul Dillinger, head of global product innovation at Levi Strauss & Co. “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.”
LS&Co. was the first apparel company to partner with Evrnu and apply their industry-altering technology into a garment. Stacy expects that LS&Co.’s participation will improve investor awareness and represents the first step towards future commercialization of their garment recycling technology.