Blue Jeans Go Green Phoenix initiative a smart one

February 25, 2014, Staff report,

Nationwide Series race sponsor running 'environmentally responsible' program

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Fans attending the NASCAR races at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend are being asked to drop their jeans …. into a recycling bin.

It’s all part of the Blue Jeans Go Green denim recycling initiative, which is making its first foray into the sport as title sponsor of the Blue Jeans Go Green 200 Nationwide Series race Saturday and at various collection points throughout the facility.

The Cotton Incorporated project takes the donated denim and has a manufacturer turn it into building insulation, which is then donated to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity.

To date, the Blue Jeans Go Green initiative has collected more than one million pieces of denim, which has resulted in two million square feet of insulation put to use around the country to help rebuild after Hurricane Sandy or in local Habitat for Humanity outlets. Beyond that, the denim collection has diverted more than 600 tons of textile waste from landfills.

"This is our first foray into sports in general for cotton in a very long time and there are a couple reasons; the demographics of the fans, how loyal they are to the brands involved, how engaged they are and how they respond to cause marketing," explained Amber Samber with Cotton Incorporated.

"This is both an environmentally responsible program as well as pro-social since we take the denim and recycle it into insulation and from there give it to organizations like Habitat for Humanity."

Not only are fans being asked to donate at the track, NASCAR teams have been issued a challenge as well and there will be a contest to see which team will donate the largest collection of denim.

There will be four drop-off locations around PIR and fans who leave a donation will receive a 20 percent discount on future race tickets. Both PIR and Cotton Incorporated are hopeful this weekend will mark the single biggest collection in the program’s eight years.

 "It’s a way of making people feel good about doing something environmentally responsible as well as benefitting the community," Samber said.