Jeans are the world's most popular clothing item, but they come with a hefty price tag for the planet.
More than 450 million pairs of denim jeans are sold worldwide each year, and the retail jeans market is estimated to be valued at around US$56 billion.
On average, though, the life cycle of one pair of denim jeans produces more than 30 kilograms of CO2 and uses around 3500 litres of water.
Now, researchers from Deakin University's Institute for Frontier Materials have found a way to reduce the huge environmental impact of denim production, with a unique process that produces ultrafine particles from used denim, and then coats or prints the colour particles to create typical denim appearance.
Deakin's Professor Xungai Wang, Dr Rangam Rajkhowa, Dr Nolene Byre, Dr Christopher Hurren and Dr Rebecca Van Amber developed the 'circular denim' idea as an entry into the Global Challenge Award, an initiative of the H&M Foundation that provides ¢1 million seed funding to five winning teams that promote sustainable fashion.
In Stockholm last night, the Deakin team was awarded ¢150,000 to help take their idea to industry.
The team was one of five winners, out of a total of 2885 entries from 130 countries, to share in the prize.
It's absolutely fantastic to see such a major part of the sustainable fashion issue being addressed in such an innovative way ... and by an Aussie team, no less.
You can read more on the Deakin University website.
We've also put together a few hints and tips on what you can be doing now to reduce the environmental impact of your jeans.
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