The latest solution to food waste: Clothing made from pineapple leaves

Companies within the fashion industry are using excess food in the production of their textiles to help address food waste.

Alexei | Public Domain
Spools of string

Clothing companies are on a mission to solve…food waste?

The textile industry is notoriously wasteful; around 85% of all textiles are thrown away in the U.S., and around the world, the equivalent of one dump truck filled with clothing is sent to a landfill or incinerator every second. To make matters worse, clothes are often produced using nonrenewable resources and large quantities of water. Now, some companies are reimagining how clothing can be produced in ways that are much less impactful on the environment by getting creative with how they’re sourcing their raw materials. 

Companies such as Ananas Anam (producer of pineapple based textile Piñatex), Vegea (which creates textiles from the grape leftovers from Italian wine production) and Agraloop are using food that would otherwise have been incinerated or sent to the landfill to create their products. These companies and others like them have used many types of food waste in their products, from inedible food scraps such as pineapple leaves and banana plant fibers, to unharvested or unsold foods that would have rotted in fields or gotten tossed from grocery store shelves. One company, QMILK, even makes fabric from milk that is not fit for consumption. Interested in seeing more? Food education group FoodTank has compiled a list of 12 noteworthy textile companies that are doing their part to reduce food waste. 

As a consumer, your purchasing decisions have power. If you don’t need new clothing, don’t rush out to buy the latest from one of these companies — you might even have trouble doing that, as many of these companies will need continued time and investment to get to scale. But when you do need a new item, consider taking a closer look at what your clothes are made of and how that might impact the world around you. And for the truly committed: try taking a broader look at your fashion footprint.

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