Who Made This Brilliant Discovery?
Leather expert Carmen Hijosa came upon the idea while visiting the Philippines to consult with the leather industry there. Observing a large waste of pineapple leaves, she realized the leaves had certain features that make it possible to turn them into a plant-based leather alternative.
Hijosa went back to school at the Royal College of Art in London, developed the material into a patented product and launched a manufacturing company of pineapple-based leather, called Piñatex.
It Doesn’t Harm The Environment
“It’s created from a byproduct of agriculture, meaning it’s a total waste product,” she says. “This really means that in order to have Piñatex we don’t have to use any land, water, pesticides, fertilizers … we are actually taking a waste material and ‘upscaling’ it, meaning that we’re giving it added value.”
It Doesn’t Harm Animals OR The Environment.
Leather typically involves hazardous chemicals such as formaldehyde and heavy tannery metals like chrome, which end up in wastewater.
But Piñatex is made from the pineapple leaves typically discarded as waste. Farmers separate the leaves string-like fibers which they use to produce the leathery textile, without using harmful chemicals.
It’s Good For The Economy
After farmers process the leaves they are left with a biomass that can be sold as fertilizer.
Pineapple Isn’t The Only Option
Other designers have experimented with everything from mushrooms to red algae powder in the search for more sustainable materials.