A pile of denim collected by the UK MAT Club. Lexington, Ky. The University of Kentucky’s Merchandising, Apparel and Textiles Club has started to count and fold the donated pieces of denim for UK’s fifth annual denim drive, which kicked off in early October.

Each year, members of the MAT Club, sponsored by the UK School of Human Environmental Sciences, partner with Cotton Incorporated for the COTTON. FROM BLUE TO GREEN recycling program. This program recycles denim to produce natural insulation that is chemical free and safe to touch.

The UltraTouch Denim Insulation is distributed to programs like Habitat for Humanity to serve communities in need. Since the start of the recycling program, Cotton Incorporated has collected approximately 850,000 denim pieces, which has produced about 1.7 million square feet of insulation.

Caroline Frederickson, the club’s campus relations officer, said that there are no collection goals set this year, but the club hopes to collect more denim than in the previous year. She said the main purpose of this drive is to educate students about recycling items other than just cardboard, plastic, paper and glass.

“I think that it is really important for people to recycle their denim, or just recycle in general,” Frederickson said. “Hopefully since most people don’t think about recycling denim, it will make them realize things in their life that can be recycled or reused.”

This year is the first year Cotton Incorporated has partnered with People StyleWatch Magazine for the denim drive. The MAT club has distributed People StyleWatch mini magazines during the drive to encourage students to replace their outdated denim with the season’s new styles.

Those who want to donate to the denim drive can “Drop Your Jeans” through the end of October in labeled bins in the Student Center, dining halls and Erikson Hall or contact your local UK Cooperative Extension office.