Understanding Denim Insulation

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Recycling Programs for Denim Insulation

The California Academy of Sciences, designed by Renzo Piano, uses denim insulation to stay warm while prioritizing eco-friendly features.
Kim Steele/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Levi Strauss & Co. contributed 200,000 pairs of jeans to help insulate the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. The installation of denim insulation is just the beginning of creating an environmentally conscious building. By participating in a denim recycling program, individuals can keep clothing out of landfills and provide companies such as Bonded Logic with the raw material to make denim insulation more readily available to the residential and commercial markets.

One successful program is called “Cotton. From Blue to Green,” which was launched in 2006 by Cotton Incorporated. This program aims to educate college students about the renewable nature of denim and encourage them to donate their old jeans. Students can drop off their jeans in collection boxes on campus or at participating retailers, such as G by GUESS specialty stores or American Eagle Outfitters. The donated denim is sent to Bonded Logic to be transformed into UltraTouch insulation. As of 2010, the program has collected over 600,000 pairs of jeans, leading to the production of 1,485,000 sq ft (138,000 sq m) of denim insulation [source: Cotton. From Blue to Green].

Consumers can also mail in their recycled denim to “Cotton. From Blue to Green.” To participate, pack your old denim in a box, download and print a mailing label from the organization’s website (www.cottonfrombluetogreen.org), and ship it to Bonded Logic via FedEx, UPS, or the US Postal Service. Ensure that your box contains no more than 100 pieces of denim and be prepared to cover the shipping costs.

If you prefer not to see a good pair of jeans shredded to make insulation, consider donating them to local charities instead. Levi Strauss & Co. has teamed up with Goodwill in the US to encourage consumers to donate their old jeans instead of throwing them away. To promote this idea, the company now sews a care tag on every garment it sells, which instructs consumers to wash their jeans in cold water, hang them to dry, and donate them to Goodwill when it is time to move on to a new pair of jeans.

Whether you choose to donate or insulate, it is easier than ever to make eco-friendly choices with your denim.

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  • Bonded Logic. “UltraTouch Denim Insulation.” (Oct. 27, 2011) http://www.bondedlogic.com/construction-products/ultratouch-denim-insulation
  • Bonded Logic. “UltraTouch Denim Insulation Brochure.” (Nov. 14, 2011) http://www.bondedlogic.com/construction-products/ultratouch-denim-insulation
  • Bonded Logic. “UltraTouch CSI 3 Part Spec.” 2011. (Nov. 14, 2011) http://www.bondedlogic.com/construction-products/ultratouch-denim-insulation
  • California Academy of Sciences. “Exploring the Academy: About the Building: Sustainable Design.” (Oct. 27, 2011) http://www.calacademy.org/academy/building/sustainable_design/
  • Cotton Counts. “The Story of Cotton.” (Oct. 27, 2011) http://www.cotton.org/pubs/cottoncounts/story/spun-and-woven.cfm
  • Cotton. From Blue to Green. (Oct. 27, 2011) http://www.cottonfrombluetogreen.org/
  • The Home Depot. “16 in. x 48 in. UltraTouch Denim Insulation Multi-Purpose Roll.” (Oct. 27, 2011) http://www.homedepot.com/buy/building-materials-insulation-fiberglass-free/16-in-x-48-in-ultratouch-denim-insulation-multi-purpose-roll-6-pack-148771.html
  • Levi Strauss & Co. “Recycling and Consumer Care.” (Oct. 27, 2011) http://www.levistrauss.com/sustainability/product/re-use
  • Nave, C.R. “Insulation R-Value.” HyperPhysics.edu. Department of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University. (Nov. 14, 2011) http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/tables/rvalue.html
  • NRCratings.com. “Noise Reduction Coefficients (NRC) for Common Building Materials.” (Nov. 14, 2011) http://www.nrcratings.com/nrc.html
  • O’Grady, Patrick. “Denim insulation maker enters retail market.” Phoenix Business Journal. Sept. 2, 2011. (Oct. 27, 2011) http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/print-edition/2011/09/02/denim-insulation-maker-enters-retail.html
  • Scott, Luci. “Chandler firm grows; recycles denim material into insulation.” The Arizona Republic. Sept. 20, 2011. (Oct. 27, 2011) http://www.azcentral.com/community/chandler/articles/2011/09/20/20110920chander-denim-recyle0921.html


1. What is denim insulation?

Denim insulation is a type of insulation made from recycled denim scraps. The scraps are treated and turned into a fluffy material that is then used to insulate homes, buildings, and other structures. The insulation is eco-friendly and does not contain any harmful chemicals or irritants.

2. How does denim insulation work?

Denim insulation works by trapping air between its fibers, which helps to slow down the transfer of heat. This means that in the winter, the insulation helps to keep warm air inside and cold air out, and in the summer, it helps to keep cool air inside and hot air out.

3. Is denim insulation effective?

Yes, denim insulation is very effective at insulating buildings. It has a high R-value (a measure of thermal resistance) and can help to lower energy bills by reducing the amount of energy needed to heat or cool a building.

4. How is denim insulation installed?

Denim insulation can be installed similarly to other types of insulation, such as fiberglass or spray foam. It can be blown in, rolled out, or installed in batts (pre-cut lengths). It is important to follow proper installation guidelines to ensure that the insulation is effective.

5. Is denim insulation safe?

Yes, denim insulation is safe to handle and does not contain any harmful chemicals or irritants. However, it is still important to wear gloves and a mask when installing it to avoid any potential irritation from the fibers.

6. How does denim insulation compare to other types of insulation?

Denim insulation has many advantages over other types of insulation. It is eco-friendly, effective at insulating buildings, and does not contain any harmful chemicals or irritants. It is also easy to install and can be recycled at the end of its life.

7. Can denim insulation be used in all types of buildings?

Yes, denim insulation can be used in all types of buildings, including homes, offices, and commercial buildings. It is a versatile insulation option that can be used in many different applications.

8. How long does denim insulation last?

Denim insulation can last for the life of a building if it is installed properly and not subjected to any damage. It is a durable insulation option that does not break down over time.

9. Is denim insulation more expensive than other types of insulation?

Denim insulation can be slightly more expensive than other types of insulation, such as fiberglass or spray foam. However, it is important to consider the long-term benefits of denim insulation, such as lower energy bills and the eco-friendly nature of the product.

10. How does denim insulation help the environment?

Denim insulation helps the environment by reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. It is made from recycled denim scraps and can be recycled at the end of its life. It also helps to lower energy consumption, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

11. Where can I purchase denim insulation?

Denim insulation can be purchased from many different retailers, both online and in-store. It is important to choose a reputable retailer and to ensure that the insulation meets your specific needs and requirements.

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