Your old jeans are making the world a better place

AE jeans recycling program animationHERE’S WHAT 17K POUNDS OF RECYCLED DENIM LOOKS LIKE

When it came to stepping up this past Earth Day to help reduce clothing waste, the AE fam came through in a MAJOR way. Between the months of April and June alone, you donated more than 17,600 pieces of denim. That’s HUGE. Like, 17 thousand pounds huge. Or 9 tons huge. Or a dozen schoolbuses… you get the idea.


Thank you for going above and beyond to bring in your old jeans and help divert so much denim from landfills. Your recycled jeans will be broken down and turned into housing insulation in partnership with Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green™ program to be used in building efforts across the country. Here’s a look at what they’ve been able to accomplish so far:


Diverted over 1,230 tons of textile waste – the weight of nearly 615 cars.



Produced nearly 4.83 million square feet of UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation from recycled denim – enough to line 83 football fields



Provided enough insulation to various Habitat for Humanity affiliates across the U.S. to insulate over 690 Habitat for Humanity homes. (Based on a 1,000 square foot house)



Blue Jeans Go Green™ is a trademark of Cotton Incorporated.





Let’s talk fabric. You probably know all about cotton (so classic, so cool), but what about man-made cellulose fabrics like rayon and viscose? These fabrics are super-soft, breathable, and lightweight, which makes them perfect for drapey tops and dresses, and for blending into the comfy, stretchy jeans you love.

But like so many amazing things, there’s a downside.

We’ve learned that viscose and rayon aren’t quite as sustainable as we’d thought. Sure, they’re made from trees, which are a renewable resource, but every year, 150 million trees are cut down to create fabric. And we want more healthy forests, not less. Forests soak up carbon dioxide, which slows down climate change. Plus, think of all the plants, animals, and people who rely on those ecosystems for food, water, medicine, and more.

That’s why AEO—along with 125 other major brands—has partnered with the environmental nonprofit group Canopy to educate ourselves and our suppliers, and ensure the clothing we make for YOU is free of fibers from ancient and endangered forests.



2020, we plan to eliminate sourcing from ancient and endangered forests.




By 2025, we plan to shift to more environmentally and socially beneficial fabrics, with a focus on recycled materials, fiber alternatives such as agricultural residues, and products that originate from Forest Stewardship Council-certified forests and plantations.





We’ll respect and uphold human rights and the rights of communities. We plan not to source from companies that are logging forests illegally or in violation of indigenous and local people’s rights.




We plan to work with Canopy and our suppliers to protect remaining ancient and endangered forests across the world, including the Coastal Temperate Rainforests on Vancouver Island, the Great Bear Rainforest, Canada’s Boreal Forests, and Indonesia’s Rainforests.




If we find out that any of our suppliers are engaging in practices that are not in line with our values (and YOURS), we plan to educate them and/or re-evaluate our relationships with them.




We ALL have the power to create change. AEO is committed to making sure the raw materials used to make your clothes are sourced in responsible, sustainable ways. How are you changing the world? Tag #AExME @americaneagle and let us know. You could be featured in an upcoming post!





What you wear says a lot about who you are and what you believe in. The brands you love should share your values and inspire you. Which is why AE believes we have a responsibility to do better, be better, and build a better world.

We’ve previously shared our progress here about our commitment to sustainability and how our shopping bags using 75% recycled materials are already making a difference. Today, we want to share our current sustainability goals, and how the improvements we’re making will contribute to a healthier planet.

We don’t have all the answers, but we’re proud of these steps forward and are committed to keeping you informed on our journey to a better world.


This is just the beginning.





You already know that water equals life—are you getting your eight glasses a day? But fresh, clean water is a limited resource, so it’s really important to us to pay attention to how much water we’re using to make those jeans you love. We’re working to reduce water use per jean production by 30%, recycle 50% of our total water used in denim laundries, and make sure the factories, mills, and laundries we use uphold our wastewater standards.







Our jeans are made to feel good inside and out. We’re working to use 100% of cotton fiber from growers using sustainable farming techniques, and making sure at least 50% of our polyester fiber is sustainable. We are also working to ensure 100% of our viscose is sourced from sustainably-managed forests.





When it comes to the carbon footprint of #AEJeans, we’re looking to be teeny tiny. We’ve already reduced our carbon footprint by nearly 32% are we are working to save even more energy. One way we’re doing that is by making sure 30% of our energy for our corporate campuses comes from renewable sources.






You know the mantra: reduce, reuse, recycle! We’re excited to find new ways to divert the clothing you’re no longer wearing from landfills. We’re finding new ways to collect and donate gently used clothing, starting with our jean recycling drive this April in honor of Earth day—have you brought in your old jeans to be turned into housing insulation? We’re also converting all labels to sustainably sourced materials, and are sending you home with shopping bags made with higher recycled content. So far we’ve saved 4,300,000 square feet of plastic!





Blue Jeans Go Green

Blue Jeans Go Green™ is a trademark of Cotton Incorporated. 


IMPORTANT UPDATE: We were so inspired by your participation in our jeans recycling event for Earth Day that we decided to keep it going! Read on for more info on our partnership with Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green program and set aside your old jeans (any brand, any color, any style) to recycle the next time you come into AE. We’ll still give you $10 off your next pair of new AE jeans!



With Earth Day coming up this month, now is a great time to take a step back and look at your relationship with the environment around you. What do you do in your daily life to reduce your carbon footprint? How do all the little things add up to make a big impact? You’ve already given up plastic straws, you ALWAYS have a reusable shopping bag, but what else can you do?

Here’s an easy one… get rid of your old jeans. Seriously. Grab that pair that’s been taking up precious closet space for years. You know the ones – they don’t fit quite right or they’re leftover from a DIY gone wrong or they ripped in the wrong place and you just never got around to fixing them. Whatever they are, wherever you got them from, we want them. We’ll even give you $10 off a pair of brand new AE jeans just for pitching in, PLUS, we’ll plant a tree* to help with the wildfire devastation in California.

Just bring your old jeans (they don’t have to be AE, we’ll take any brand!) to your local AE store and we’ll recycle them in partnership with Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green™ program to be used as housing insulation. Since denim is made mostly from cotton, a sustainable fiber, it can be broken down to its natural state and recycled. This means the all those old jeans can be diverted from landfills and upcycled into natural cotton fiber insulation.  Each year a portion of insulation from Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green™ program is distributed for building efforts to communities across the country.



cartoon jeans

We started partnering with Cotton in 2008 and since then, we’ve been able to recycle over half a million pairs of jeans. That’s more than 500,000 jeans that DIDN’T end up in a landfill. Here’s how it works:


bring in an old pair of jeans, get $10 off a new pair of jeans and your old jeans will be turned into housing insulation.


That’s it. Easy, right? A tree gets planted, your old jeans stay out of a landfill and help build homes for those in need, and you get $10 off your new favorite pair.

*Up to 25,000 trees


Individual style is all about wearing clothes that express YOU. What you wear says a lot about who you are, and where you shop can say just as much about what you believe in. Now more than ever, the brands you love should share your values and inspire you to feel great about what you wear – not just for how it looks, but for what it represents. Which is why we’re dedicated to keeping you informed as we work to reduce our environmental impact and increase sustainability across major areas of our business.

recycling logo animation

We’ve been working tirelessly behind the scenes to understand our role in resource consumption and reduction, and starting in 2018 we made the move to use shopping bags with a higher percentage of recycled content. It may seem like a small step, but this simple switch has already yielded a sizeable impact:

4.3 million square feet of virgin plastic saved - approximately the area of 36 football fieldsfootball field animation

65,138 gallons of oil saved - approximately the volume of 814 standard bath tubsbath tub animation


greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions reduced molecule animation

Moving forward, this more responsible sourcing has the potential to save over 14 million square feet of virgin plastic and over 100,000 gallons of oil every year. It’s a key piece of the puzzle as we move towards more mindful business practices and a cleaner Earth.