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Don’t Get the Blues: Reuse, Reinvent and Recycle Them

Values, CompanyGap Inc. blogsComment

What do you do when your favorite pair of jeans has worn thin — far beyond the point you can pass them off as distressed and trendy?

If you've loved them beyond repair, Gap Middle East proposed a rather Earth-friendly option: recycling 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. Who knew Gap denim could enjoy retirement from your closet as potted plant covers, table settings and even baby carriers?

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.

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 footprintGap 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.