takepart-logoThe United Nations Environment Programme estimates that 1.3 billion tons of food go to waste each year, creating an annual global carbon footprint of 3.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalents. Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency threw down a gauntlet: an initiative calling for a 50 percent reduction in national food waste by 2030. Upcycling, which in this case means finding innovative ways to address food waste, has been gaining steam as pressure mounts to stop filling landfills with foods and byproducts that can’t be eaten, but can be repurposed.

One upcycling practice that’s gaining momentum is the conversion of second-generation food waste—such as orange peels, coconut husks, and salmon skin—into synthetic fibers appropriate for use in apparel. These new fiber sources for textiles and clothing are better for the planet than nonrenewable, petroleum-based polyester. Not only do upcycled textiles bring sustainability to the fashion industry, which is second only to the oil industry for pollution, but they make for smaller (and happier) landfills. This report is part of TakePart’s “Design and Innovation” series, which highlights the people and cutting edge technology working to solve the world’s most pressing problems.

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TakePart took the time to highlight the sustainability efforts of NAU and how they utilize 37.5 technology to stay true to their mission. Click below to continue reading this phenomenal piece from TakePart: