Valley company recycles around 700,000 pairs of jeans a month

PHOENIX - In just a few seconds a mountain of blue jeans is in shreds. "On a typical month we'll destroy anywhere from 6-700,000 pairs of old blue jeans," said Tod Kean, the president of Phoenix Fibers in Chandler - the largest denim destroyers in the United States.

Inside their 100,000 square foot factory, machines turn jeans into fiber that's used in bedding, futons and insulation. The company is also melting down about 20-25 tons of buttons and zippers per month.

Across town, nothing is going to waste inside Hair by Michelle. The Scottsdale salon owned by Michelle and her daughter Melina Lombardi. Today, they're doing a quick cut and color. Normally they throw the foils away after a color and the hair would go in the garbage but they're recycling all of it.

"Our trash is barely full," said Melina. "Up to 95 percent of all of our salon waste is now getting either recycled or repurposed."

The recycled hair is shipped off and used to soak up oil from oil spills. The hair is even mixed in with concrete to make it stronger.

The excess color is turned into power and the foils are melted down.

It's next-level recycling because of people like Tod, Melina and Michelle who believe every step, no matter how small, can make a difference for everyone on earth.

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