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Blue Jeans Go Green denim drive underway

FFA and 4-H chapters encouraged to participate. Top three winners receive cash prizes.

Shelley E. Huguley

February 11, 2020

4 Min Read
Olton High School FFA chapter received $1,500 for gathering the most denim in PhytotGen's Blue Jeans Go Green 2019 denim drive. Olton FFA collected more than 650 denim items. FFA and 4-H chapters are invited to participate in the 2020 denim drive. Shelley E. Huguley

FFA and 4-H chapters across the Cotton Belt are invited to participate in the 2020 Blue Jeans Go Green recycling program and denim drive. Whether it's a denim shirt, shorts, jacket or good ol' work jeans, Cotton Incorporated's Blue Jeans Go Green program upcycles donated denim into UltraTouch Denim Insulation used in homes.


The denim drive, sponsored by PhytoGen, invites chapters to gather and deliver denim to The Texas Cotton Ginners' Show in Lubbock, Texas, April 2-3, or The Desert Ag Conference in Chandler, Arizona, April 22-23. PhytoGen will award cash prizes to the three chapters who donate the most: first place, $2,000; second place, $1,500; and third place $500. 

Star City FFA, Star City, Ark., donated 1,386 items in 2019. Farm Press caught up with former advisor Leanna Britton at the 2019 Mid-South Farm and Gin Show, Memphis, Tenn., where Britton and her top donor-FFA members delivered their denim collection to the PhytoGen booth.

"They (the chapter) worked for four days at a donation center in Star City that needed some help cleaning and organizing clothing and in exchange, our students got to keep all of the denim they found," Britton said. "So, we got half of our denim from working for four days. The rest they collected was from donation boxes at banks, churches and businesses. And we got the community involved to reach our goal, plus some." 


Along with insulation, the Blue Jeans Go Green Program keeps discarded denim out of landfills. This is the second year PhytoGen has partnered with Cotton Incorporated on the denim drive. 

“By teaming with PhytoGen, we are showcasing how the Blue Jeans Go Green program helps to close the loop on cotton sustainability. It also engages consumers in the process and creates an opportunity to highlight the environmental gains the industry is making,” said Andrea Samber, co-director, Strategic Alliances at Cotton Incorporated, in a Cotton Board news release.

In 2019, PhytoGen collected 7,412 items through donation drives at cottton industry events and company locations. Cash prizes were awarded to  Olton FFA (Texas), Star City FFA (Arkansas), Thomas County Middle FFA (Georgia) and La Paz 4-H (Arizona). While the competition is between FFA and 4-H chapters, anyone is invited to donate their denim at either of the conferences listed above or company locations. 

PhytoGen Brand Manager Derek Racca said PhytoGen is excited to partner with Cotton Incorporated's Blue Jeans Go Green program. “Thanks to the participation of local FFA and 4-H chapters, denim will be recycled and put to good use as home insulation, with a portion being distributed to charitable organizations.”

Participating chapters are asked to box rather than bag their donations prior to delivering them to the PhytoGen booth. Once delivered, PhytoGen representatives will count the items. 

Cotton Incorporated answers "frequently asked questions" on their website:

What type of denim can be recycled?

You can contribute any type of denim apparel item – jeans, jackets, shirts, skirts and more. It can be colored, embellished and/or printed. The denim can also be in any condition – ripped, stained and even scraps.

Do you accept other apparel or clothing for recycling?

For the purposes of the Blue Jeans Go Green program, we only collect denim for recycling. That said, other cotton apparel can be recycled, and there are a variety of organizations that may be able to assist in these efforts.

Can I receive a tax write-off when I contribute my denim?

No, Cotton Incorporated is not a charitable organization, and therefore, cannot offer any tax receipts.


I’m interested in obtaining denim insulation for my own project. Can I buy or receive it from you?

Cotton Incorporated is a not-for-profit organization. We don’t buy, sell or manufacture any products. To apply for a grant of insulation, you must fill out an application accessed through the Receive Insulation page. Grants are awarded to qualified recipients at the discretion of Cotton Incorporated based on a variety of factors. To learn more about requesting insulation, visit our FAQs for the Grant Program on the Receive Insulation page. You can find out where you may be able to purchase UltraTouch Denim Insulation by visiting BondedLogic.com.

For more information about the denim drives, send an inquiry via the PhytoGen Facebook or Twitter pages.

About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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