Since Madewell first announced its in-store denim recycling program last August, they’ve recycled more than 40,000 pairs of jeans into insulation for Habitat for Humanity homes. Jeans make for great insulation—once the zippers and other metal are removed, they can be shredded and compressed into material that’s flexible but sturdy. Natural fiber insulation also has health benefits for installers because it’s free of the fiberglass you’ll find in the conventional pink stuff, which can leave workers with rashes and skin irritation (of course, the denim-based option is also formaldehyde-free).
Madewell partners with Blue Jeans Go Green, on the program, an organization that can tackle all kinds of denim (dyed, bleached, stretchy, rhinestone pockets…). While you can mail your denim directly to the them (they also supply insulation for community programs, like arts and recreation centers), bringing it to a Madewell store comes with the added perk that you’ll get a $20 credit towards a new pair.