Levi's 501 jean

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Levi's 501 jean
Carbon Footprint
GHG Emissions Facts
Per one medium stone wash jean
Total:33.4 kg CO₂e
33,400 gCO₂e
 Materials:2.9 kg CO₂e
2,900 gCO₂e
 Production:11.6 kg CO₂e
11,600 gCO₂e
 Packaging:1.7 kg CO₂e
1,700 gCO₂e
 Distribution:3.8 kg CO₂e
3,800 gCO₂e
 Usage:12.5 kg CO₂e
12,500 gCO₂e
 End of Life:0.9 kg CO₂e
900 gCO₂e
Energy Use
Per one medium stone wash jean
Total:62.7 kWh
Material Use
Water Use
Per one medium stone wash jean
Total:3781 L
998.184 USgal
 • Materials:2565 L
677.16 USgal
 • Production:270 L
71.28 USgal
 • Packaging:77 L
20.328 USgal
 • Distribution:10 L
2.64 USgal
 • Usage:860 L
227.04 USgal
 • End of Life:0 L
0 USgal
Source: Levi Strauss & Co.[1]
Advertising disclosure

Levi's 501 jeans are a type of denim jean produced by Levi Strauss & Co., a United States based clothing company. This article is an overview of the environmental impact of one pair of size medium stone wash jeans. The life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or carbon footprint of one pair of jeans is 33.4 kg carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).


The jeans are produced primarily of cotton fiber. For jeans sold in the United States market, cotton is sourced from farms in the United States and Mexico. Fiber production for one pair of jeans requires 2,565 liters of water. This is 68% of the total lifetime water consumption for this product. Producing the fiber required to make one pair releases 2.9 kg carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.[1]

Materials also found in a finished pair of jeans include metal rivets, metal buttons, artificial leather label, and care labels. [2] These materials are not specifically mentioned in the life cycle assessment published by Levi Strauss & Co.[1]


The first part of the production process for the jeans includes spinning, weaving, and dyeing fabric in Mexico. This requires 236 liters of water for each pair or 6% of the total average lifetime water consumption. The fabric assembly process releases 9 kg CO2e of greenhouse gases. The second stage of the production process includes cutting, sewing, and finishing the jeans. This is done in Mexico, Haiti, Egypt, Poland, and Turkey for jeans sold in the United States market. This stage of the production process releases 2.6 kg CO2e and requires approximately 34 liters of water for each jean.[1]


Packaging for each pair releases 1.7 kg CO2e of greenhouse gases. This is 5% of the total produced in the lifetime of one pair of jeans. Packaging requires 77 liters of water for each pair.[1]


The transportation, distribution, and retail sell of each pair produces 3.8 kg CO2e of greenhouse gases. This phase of the product lifecycle utilizes 10 liters of water. The US distribution centers for the product are in the states of Nevada, Kentucky, and Mississippi.[1]


Washing by consumers is estimated to require 860 liters of water or approximately 23% of lifetime water consumption for each pair. This phase of the product lifecycle produces 12.5 kg CO2e of greenhouse gases. This is 37% of the total 33.4 kg CO2e produced in the lifetime of one pair of jeans.[1]

Wearing jeans more times before washing and air drying them can significantly reduce energy use, climate change impact, and water use. In the United States wearing jeans 5 times before use instead of the average 2.3 could reduce water intake by approximately 51%. Additionally, switching to line drying in the United States could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from product care by 67%.[1]

End of Life

The end of life options for a pair of jeans includes landfill and incineration, depending on the area in which they are disposed of.[1] In the United States about 13% of waste is burned for energy recovery. [3] This stage produces 0.9 kg CO2e of greenhouse gases.[1]

See also[edit]

  • Clothing - comparison of the environmental impacts of clothing


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 The Life Cycle Of A Jean. 1st ed. Levi Strauss & Co., 2015. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.
  2. Ali S. Life Cycle Analysis and Sustainability Report - Levi Strauss & Co. - Jeans. 2010. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.
  3. Waste-to-Energy (Municipal Solid Waste). U.S. Department of Energy website http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.cfm/data/index.cfm?page=biomass_waste_to_energy Updated December 14, 2015. Accessed October 16, 2016.