Bins of blue jeans

Yes you can, according to Cotton, Incorporated and the Merchandising, Apparel & Textiles (MAT) Club. Together, they worked to promote the first Denim Drive at UK, which collected denim garments to be recycled into household insulation for Habitat for Humanity homes in either New Orleans, Louisiana or Galveston, Texas.

Cotton, Incorporated, funded by U.S. growers and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, began the COTTON. FROM BLUE TO GREEN.® recycling program in 2006. Through partnerships with designated universities across the country, they convert denim collected on campus into UltraTouchTM natural cotton fiber insulation.  While UK was not originally chosen to be a designated school, the MAT Club lobbied to be included and eventually collected more pairs of jeans than some of the other schools originally selected by Cotton, Incorporated.

The Denim Drive kicked off on September 23rd in the UK Student Center during the Big Blue Goes Green Denim Drive Spring 2009Sustainability Showcase. MAT Club members asked for denim donations for one month by placing collection bins in Erikson Hall and Ag Science North, and by personal solicitation. They gathered over 900 pairs of denim, which is enough to insulate approximately 3,000 square feet or three Habitat for Humanity sized houses.

Professor Elizabeth Easter, faculty member in the Department of Merchandising, Apparel and Textiles department  is working with  Cotton, Incorporated in hopes to be chosen as a designated school for 2009. "Most schools collect anywhere from 400-1300 pairs of jeans," she said.  "Collecting over 900 pairs without being a designated school will hopefully be a vote in our favor during the decision-making process this year."

The MAT Club is an organization for Merchandising, Apparel and Textiles majors. MAT Club provides opportunities for members to participate in study tours, store visits, fundraising, and community service. For more information about the MAT Club or regarding the denim drive, contact Nicole Depenbrock at or the MAT Club advisor, Preeti Joshi at