“If you like Piña Coladas and get caught in the rain…” Since I’ve learned that the natural fiber Piñatex is made from pineapple, this song is just stuck in my head. Leather made of pineapple, to me this sounds as good as Piña Colada on the beach.
Piñatex is made from pineapple green leaves, which are usually a waste product in the industrial processing of pineapples. The leaves are obtained from existing agriculture and are usually disposed of. This results in 13 million tons of bio-waste per year. These large amounts can hardly be composted but are usually burned. But if the farmers and field workers can also sell the leaves, the leaves are processed and put to use while an additional income remains for the workers.
The cradle-to-cradle approach of the Piñatex manufacturers
The inventor of the fabric is the Spanish company Ananas Anam has developed the patent for Piñatex. Their approach was to create a fully sustainable circular system. “Design is not just about the product. Design is about responsibility,” says Ananas Anam founder Carmen Hijosa and consistently implements this statement. The term cradle-to-cradle stands for a holistic approach on how to use resources and care for the environment. Thus, companies that commit themselves to this concept are consistently careful that all the products they produce can also fall back into the natural cycle. As it is processed in an environmentally friendly manner, Piñatex is a sustainable alternative to conventionally processed animal leather or synthetic leather.
By comparison, the conventional tanning process in leather is extremely complex and contains up to 250 chemicals and environmentally harmful metals. As a result, the treated leather is no longer a biodegradable product. Plastic leather alternatives are not a truly sustainable alternative, as plastics don’t degrade at all.