Ananas Anam has developed Piñatex, a plant-based material made of fibers extracted from pineapple leaves, which is used as an alternative to leather.
Piñatex is a plant-based, non-woven textile made from fibers found in pineapple leaves and bonded together without knitting or weaving. No extra land, water, fertilizers or pesticides are required to produce Piñatex since the pineapple leaves are a by-product of pineapple harvesting. Farmers extract the fibers from the leaves at the plantation through a delicate disassembly process. The fibers are combined to form a net and are then converted into thread. The biomass remaining after the extraction of the fibers can be used as natural fertilizer.
Piñatex comes in various thicknesses and finishes, and it has the same durability as real leather. Strong and breathable, the Piñatex fabric is being used by PUMA to making shoe prototypes. It is also used for upholstery, clothing, and accessories.
Why you should care
The growing global demand for leather has caused a boom in the industry in recent years. Compared to real leather, which requires an energy-intense chemical tanning process, Piñatex provides an alternative with a reduced carbon footprint and lower chemical use, which is safer for the workers and consumers. The innovation also provides pineapple farmers with a new revenue stream.