On 20 August 2016 the staff of the University of Pretoria's Department of Consumer Science welcomed 50 Grade-10 UP with Science learners for a fun and interactive introductory information session on food and textile sustainability issues. The learners were briefly introduced to the various degrees presented by the Department, and their associated entry requirements and job opportunities.
In view of current research in the foods and textiles domain, the focus of the interactive activity, which involved dyeing butcher's twine using natural food colourants, was on sustainability. Sustainability is a key issue in the foods and textiles industry, with substantial effort devoted to reducing the environmental impact of manufacturing processes. Synthetic textile dyes cause severe water pollution and some of them react chemically with environmental factors, creating toxic and carcinogenic products that have serious environmental implications. Butcher's twine was dyed with beetroot, turmeric, spinach, coffee and carrot juice, to produce red, yellow, green, brown and orange strands respectively.
The students braided macramé bracelets in a style and pattern of their choice. The staff shared their passion for food and clothing, and all the students participated with great enthusiasm. Students were reminded that creating consumer products need not compromise our environment or the sustainability of our natural resources.