The Civility Mentors Organization is asking students around campus to donate any type of denim to create cleaner and more sustainable house insulation.

There are various residential homes and commercial buildings across the country that are in need of a safe and “health-friendly” insulation. Since a cotton seed can be turned into denim, that means it could be returned to its natural, original fiber state. So, Cotton Inc. takes a piece of denim that is donated to them, and creates a recycled piece. This piece of reprocessed cotton fiber is treated with a borate solution to account for fire retardancy and mold and mildew resistance. Then, sheets of insulation can then be cut to size and are prepared for packaging to be shipped and installed in various buildings.

Each year, Cotton Inc. donates  approximately 250,000 square feet of denim, which is recycled into UltraTouch Denim insulation, to communities in need. The organization, called “Blue Jeans Go Green,” accepts donations of denim at J. Crew and Madewell stores, through mail, and through the help of four universities. Since the beginning of the program in 2006, insulation has been distributed Habitat for Humanity organizations across the country.

Illinois State University, Stephen F. Austin State University, University of Kentucky and University of Rhode Island are all collecting denim on their campuses. As for URI, the Civility Mentors Organization is collecting denim in the Memorial Union, Health Services, Green Hall, the Christopher House and the Ryan Center. From now until October 31 they will hold a booth in the Memorial Union and will be handing out sunglasses to those who donate.

Katherine Alworth, organization member and student contact for the denim drive, explained that it does not matter what type of denim you donate. She said the denim could be colored, faded or even bedazzled and will still count.

“A pair of jeans that I ripped a year ago could go toward a house,” Alworth said. “I think that’s an incredible feeling.” Olivia Bannon, also a civility mentor, explained that she is happy to be apart of this denim drive because all of her denim can go toward a useful cause.

To date, Blue Jeans Go Green has collected more than 1 million pieces of denim, which have helped divert over 600 tons of waste out of landfills and will generate approximately 2 million square feet of UltraTouch Denim Insulation to help with different buildings. The civility mentors’ goal is to obtain 500 pieces of denim by the end of October. Alworth said that just 500 pieces will insulate an entire house, so if the university collects beyond this goal, the amount of houses with safe insulation would be “incredible.”

“Everyone has old jeans they don’t wear anymore, and donating them to a great cause like this is better than just throwing them away,” Bannon said.