Denim giant Levi Strauss & Co has launched a collection of jeans combining cotton with polyester fibre made from recycled bottles and food trays, as part of its ongoing sustainable design initiative.

The items in the Waste<Less range, which will be available in Levi's stores worldwide from January 2013, will include a minimum of 20% post-consumer recycled content or eight 12 to 20-ounce bottles per jean, the company said. 

Levi Strauss collects PET plastic or polyethylene terephthalate materials, including brown beer bottles, green soda bottles, clear water bottles and black food trays, through recycling schemes across the US.

The bottles and trays are sorted by colour, crushed into flakes, and made into a polyester fibre. The fibre is then blended with cotton fibre and woven with traditional cotton yarn by Cone Denim to create the denim used in the Levi’s Waste<Less jeans and trucker jackets.

The colour of the bottles used adds an undertone to the denim fabric creating a unique finish in the final product.

Men's products include skinny and straight jeans and the trucker jacket. For women, styles include boyfriend skinny jeans.

"From the beginning, we have designed our products with purpose and intent. By adding value to waste, we hope to change the way people think about recycling, ultimately incentivising them to do more of it," said James Curleigh, global president of the Levi's brand.

The new Waste<Less collection follows the Water<Less finishing technique introduced nearly two years ago to reduce the amount of water used in the finishing process by up to 96%.

Levi Strauss says it saved over 172m litres of water through its Water<Less collection this year.