By now, we all know that there are better (and more eco-friendly) things to do with our tired threads than just dump them in the garbage. We generally bring them to a clothing swap  or Goodwill if they're still in good to relatively good condition, but what about when our beloved designer denim wears through in the thighs or busts open in the bum?
Thanks to these two denim recycling programs, even the most unpatchable, unwearable jeans can find a new life — and will score you a serious discount on a new pair in the process:
Gap's "Recycle Your Blues" Program
Through a textile recycling partnership with Cotton Inc. cleverly called "From Blue to Green," you can now turn your out-of-shape, worn-out denim (doesn't have to be from Gap) into cotton insulation for those in need. Just bring your old jeans to a Gap store, and they'll give you 30% off any 1969 jeans from October 6th to October 20th, 2010. Check out Gap's Facebook event listing  for more info, or watch this super-adorable ad they put together for the event:
Levi's & Goodwill Industries International
Each May 1st for the past two years, and running for a solid 10 days, Levi Strauss & Co. has partnered with Goodwill Industries International to collect denim donations in exchange for a 25% discount on a new pair of Levi's — what they call Levi's annual "501(R) Day" (for their classic 501 style of jeans, invented in 1873). The jeans collected are then sold in local Goodwill stores, where jeans are the top-selling item, and revenues from the sales help fund Goodwill's job training programs. In addition, back in January Levi's introduced the "Care Tag For Our Planet" program: Levi's jeans now feature a care tag that encourages owners to donate to Goodwill when no longer needed — educating consumers about how to care for their clothes responsibly.
"The simple act of donating your used jeans to Goodwill helps to reduce the approximately 23.8 billion pounds of clothing and textiles that go into U.S. landfills each year," said Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International, in a press release  earlier this year. "The 166 local, independent Goodwill agencies in the United States and Canada use those donations to create job training services that help more than 1.5 million people."
Story: Copyright 2010, Shoestring LLC. Image: Fast Company.