Shortly after spring break came to a close, Skyline’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) organization kicked off an initiative to collect denim to repurpose as insulation.
Anita DeWeese, FFA Advisor for Skyline, said the denim drive is a year-round, ongoing project that aims to recycle and repurpose denim.
The original plan for collection was to set up donation boxes at school and around the community but with the COVID-19 pandemic, DeWeese said people can just leave the denim on their porches to be picked up by FFA. Anyone is welcome to donate items.
Jeans, jackets, shirts, and any kind of denim clothing item can be donated, and while the items can contain some polyester, the majority of the material should consist of denim.
“It doesn’t matter if it has stains on it, if they’re ripped or torn,” DeWeese said. “Instead of going to the landfill, the cotton producers have come up with this, and they’re making it into insulation.”
DeWeese said FFA plans to work with thrift shops in town so that any remaining items cleared off the racks can be donated and repurposed.
“We thought, you know, it’s a good time,” DeWeese said. “People are doing some spring cleaning, cleaning out closets, and instead of throwing all that stuff away, ya know, box it up, bag it up.”
As an organization, DeWeese said FFA aims to start a variety of service learning projects so that students have the opportunity to get involved and help out.
In past service learning projects, the Skyline FFA organization helped Kiwanis with their shoe drive and also hosted a gently-used winter clothing drive.
DeWeese said the students aim to choose service learning projects that they do not have to spend money on so everyone can help and be included.
“I had been to a meeting where they had talked about the recycled denim and using it for insulation,” DeWeese said. “I brought that back to my officer team and they thought that was a great project.”
Some of the insulation samples made from denim were sent to DeWeese so she could see the result.
“I was really impressed. It didn’t matter if it was colored denim or not,” DeWeese said. “You would see a few pieces of colored denim put in there with the rest of the blue denim so, yeah, if it’s colored or black, we take all of it.”
According to the Blue Jeans Go Green Denim Recycling website, the denim is dismantalled and transformed into ‘natural cotton fiber insulation’, which can then be used in different building projects.
So far, DeWeese said they currently have several boxes full of denim but they are hoping to collect as much as they can for the project.
“The plan is to collect an enclosed trailer load and take the denim and FFA members to the Texas Cotton Ginners’ Association trade show, Lubbock, Texas next spring,” DeWeese said. “The tradeshow features speakers, workshops, and booths about cotton. Additional learning opportunities would be to tour gins and other cotton related businesses on the trip.”
Anyone interested in donating denim for the collection drive should email Anita DeWeese at email@example.com or call (620) 770-0173.