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From the 5th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

Reducing Food Waste: Upcycling Avocado Pits

Gold Honor in Environment & Sustainability


Studies have shown the average American wastes 290 pounds of food per year. Further, estimates suggest that 94% of food that’s thrown away ends up in a landfill.

Chipotle is known for our infamous guac (and, yes, it costs extra). To feed the global guac addiction, requires a lot of avocados. In fact, we are one of the largest restaurant purchasers of avocados in the world and our restaurants are left with nearly 300 million avocado pits per year.

We are also one of the largest buyers of Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) cotton in the U.S. and as a longstanding advocate for social responsibility, have supported organic cotton farmers through uniform purchases since 2012. In 2019 alone, our purchase of employee uniforms made with organic cotton prevented approximately 1.7 million pounds of synthetic pesticides from being used.

Basically, we purchase lots of avocados and lots of organic cotton. Unlike the organic cotton used in our uniforms, our avocado pits were going to the landfill.

With a mission to cultivate a better world, our Sustainability Team rallied with our Marketing Department to find an innovative solution - turning trash into sustainable fashion, for our fans and the environment.

Strategy and Execution

Blending the two ingredients we purchase in such a large quantity – avocado and organic cotton, the Chipotle Goods Avo Dye collection was born. The line is focused on size inclusivity, gender neutral pieces and features unisex sizing on most products. Our avo dye collection includes a sweatshirt, t-shirt and tote bag.

The upcycling process uses leftover avocado pits from select restaurants to create several natural avo dyed goods. An ink is created when the pits are simmered in water, creating a sustainable, plant-based dye varying in color, that ultimately results in customized look for each item. Each unique piece from the avo dyed collection requires five avocado pits, equivalent to five orders of guac, depending upon the season and size of the fruit used. The avo dye line used approximately 10,000 avocado pits for our debut collection.

The Chipotle Goods line are not “fast fashion” sourced, instead they are designed to be worn for a long time compared to standard apparel and are high quality items, priced affordably for our fans to proudly display their ‘extra’ brand love.  All profits from the collection will go towards supporting organizations that are focused on making fashion or farming more sustainable.

For the launch we catered to our brand fan community, allowing Chipotle Rewards members the first opportunity to access to the collection by using a special password shared via email. The Chipotle Goods line was be available for the public the following day. Always looking for new and fun ways to engage with our fans and insert ourselves into culture, we partnered with Depop to host a special pop-up shop on the popular resale site. Digital stars Avani Gregg (@avani), Natalie Mariduena (@natalinanoel), SpencerX (@iamspencerx), and DevonOnDeck (@devanondeck) dropped customized Chipotle Goods on Depop throughout the day.

Our strategy also included a traditional awareness campaign including earned media and social media storytelling to help share the inspiration and message behind the collection. We wanted to ensure fans and stakeholders knew this was not just new ‘Chipotle swag’ but understand the important message about sustainability and waste reduction that influenced this line.


This initiative really resonated with fans, media and stakeholders and we are incredibly proud of this collection. The impact of Chipotle Goods avo dye line was felt beyond the food and fashion industry. The avo dye sweatshirt was the first item in the Chipotle Goods collection to sell out, in less than 48 hours.

Our message was understood, and we surpassed expectations across all mediums. The new collection received significant coverage across media in 891 outlets resulting in 1.3 Billion media impressions. Coverage included top tier consumer press like USA Today and Thrillist and fashion forward outlets like Vogue, WWD and Shape.

From a social perspective the activation resulted in 1.4M owned social impressions  and over 60K organic engagments across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok.

Repurposing our waste and dedicating resources to find scalable, sustainable solutions to protect our environment is a continual effort at Chipotle and one we are very proud of. With such an aggressive goal for keeping waste out of the landfill (50% diversion), avo dye was not our first foray upcycling waste this will not be our last.


Video for Reducing Food Waste: Upcycling Avocado Pits

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Day One Agency, BCW