Green Goals Without the Wash

Posted: November 6, 2011 by jerkmag in VAULT -- archives
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Many companies try to improve their green reputation. Levi Strauss & Company is one of those, but it’s trying too hard. Great for them that they’re helping create nonprofit programs to save water and provide water-saving options relating to their products. Washing your jeans less and using cold water are some of these changes. One of Levi Strauss’ more innovative idea was introducing “a brand featuring stone-washed denim smoothed with rocks but no water.”

As fantastic as that sounds, there’s a limit. That was when I read this part of the New York Times article on their initiatives:

“To customers seeing further advice, Levi Strauss suggests washing jeans rarely, if at all – the theory being that putting them in the freezer will kill germs that cause them to smell.”

How many people would be willing to take that measure to stop their jeans from smelling? I’m not sure I know any. It’s understandable and commendable that Levi Strauss has developed a variety of ideas for water conservation. However, if your jeans smell so badly, then you might want to suck it up and just wash them.

We’re college students, so most, if not all, of us have been there. You’ve waited till the last minute and now you’re out of socks and/or underwear—i.e. time to finally do laundry. So you take out your change and count how many loads you can do with those quarters. Then, the shoving of the clothes into the laundry bag or basket, and finally the sniff test—judging which items are in absolute dire need of washing and which can wait. Usually, the jeans and jackets are usually the ones with the greatest chance of passing.

Basically, Levi Strauss, if you’re gearing that pitch towards college students, you might want to remember that (1) many don’t wash their jeans that often anyways for green reasons or not; and (2) for most, the freezer is for booze and frozen dinners. If jeans go in a college freezer, they may never come out.

-Erin Elzo

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