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Reuse, reinvent and Recycle Your Blues

Values, DesignRosemary K. Young, Global Corporate AffairsComment

What do you do when your favorite pair of jeans has worn thin? Sure, you could play up the destructed denim trend and breathe new life into your well-loved blues with personalized patches.

But if you've loved them beyond repair, there's another Earth-friendly option: recycle them into something entirely different.  

Through its Recycle Your Blues initiative, Gap Middle East encouraged customers in Dubai and Kuwait to bring in their old jeans in exchange for a voucher useable toward a new pair. The result marked the intersection of art, sustainability, community — and the product for which Gap is known all over the world.

The program centered on six local Middle Eastern artists who partnered with Gap to create unique pieces of art using the customers' recycled denim. The artwork was then displayed at the launch of a new Gap concept store in The Dubai Mall. The artworks will be auctioned off later this year, and all proceeds will go toward a local children's charity. Furthermore, Gap Middle East committed to one hour of volunteer time for each event attendee — which meant 400 volunteer hours for the charity.

Influential bloggers even got into the mix, giving their jeans second lives as something new and showing the world how versatile denim can be outside the realm of everyday style. Aprons, potted plant covers, table settings and even baby carriers were among the custom creations.

All told, Gap Middle East collected 3,300 pairs of jeans — diverting 2.4 tons of waste from landfills — through its Recycle Your Blues program.

Recycling denim is just one way the company is shrinking its global environmental footprint. Gap Inc. has set ambitious environmental goals for 2020, including a 50 percent absolute reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in owned and operated facilities globally, and to divert 80 percent of the waste from landfill for U.S. facilities.