For over a hundred years, U.S. dollars have been printed on a unique cotton blend paper made using scraps of denim sold in bulk by the garment industry. In fact, about 30 percent of the cotton used in our money$ came from leftover denim (the rest coming from a variety of other textile wastes). It was all fine and dandy and we were all happy carrying around our moola made of scraps from the island of unloved jeans.
Then, in the 1990s, something big happened: we all fell straight into tight, stretchy jeans — tight, stretchy jeans that tainted the denim supply. Spandex was mixed with denim and even though our asses looked fly as hell and inspired countless songs, our money manufacture was all RUH ROH.
Even a single fiber of spandex can ruin a batch of currency paper, degrading the strength of the material. But separating the spandex from the cotton would be a Herculean task, Rudd said. By the early 2000s, almost every pair of jeans contained at least a hint of stretch — rendering them useless to Crane [the company that makes U.S. dollars].
Now, because there's no way in hell we're giving up our tight-ass jeans, Crane has to buy cotton straight from the source. Our hot, sexy asses: 1, U.S. dollar: 0.
Image via Shutterstock/Susan Quinland-Stringer