Chipotle is using avocado pits as dye for its new sustainable clothing line

Monday, August 3, 2020
Chipotle is using avocado pits as dye for its new sustainable clothing line
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Chipotle is re-purposing the avocados it uses in restaurants.

Chipotle wants its customers to eat - and wear - its avocados.

The company announced a new "responsibly sourced" clothing and goods line Monday, and all of the T-shirts, sweatshirts and tote bags will be dyed with the food chain's used avocado pits that would otherwise go to waste.

After using avocados to make guacamole, Chipotle is left with nearly 300 million avocado pits that go to waste in its restaurants every year. Each item in the clothing and goods line will require five avocado pits, which is roughly equivalent to five orders of guacamole, according to the press release.

The Chipotle Goods collection has been in the works for a year and a half. "We looked at some of our biggest waste outputs that were landfill bound. We purchase more avocados than any other restaurant in America, which means we produce more avocado pits than any other restaurant," a Chipotle spokesperson told CNN Business. "Commercial compost isn't available everywhere, and that meant that a lot of avocado pits were potentially destined for landfills each year. We started brainstorming ways we could use our avocado pits for good, and natural dye was something that kept coming up."

The catalog of goods will include leggings, jean jackets, blankets, hats, onesies, gym bags and sweatshirts. The line will focus on "size inclusivity" and gender-neutral garb, according to a company press release.

The items will be made with organic cotton from Loomstate, Chipotle's uniform partner. The partnership will aim to reduce waste and water usage and "prevent the use of a significant amount of synthetic pesticides," Chipotle said.

Clothing production generates a huge amount of waste globally. One full garbage truck of clothes is burned or sent to a landfill every second, according to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a non-profit working to improve the fashion industry's sustainability record.

Chipotle has long sought to differentiate itself in the saturated quick-serve restaurant business by using fresh ingredients and pledging to make its operation ecologically sustainable. Fast food is a low-loyalty business operating on razor-thin margins, so anything that makes a business stand out in the crowd can be good for the bottom line. Chipotle believes being a "green" brand can help - particularly after a difficult couple of years in which the company failed to contain E-coli and salmonella outbreaks, and customers looked elsewhere for lunch.

In the company's 2019 Sustainability Report, Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol said the company would set up compost and recycling at every possible Chipotle to keep unnecessary waste out of the landfill. Last year, the company purchased more than 35 million pounds of local produce from 62 local farmers.

After a rough couple of years filled with outbreaks and unpopular new menu items, the new efforts seem to be paying off. The chain's stock is up 36% this year.

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