We can agree to disagree on whether pineapples belong on your pizza but do they belong in your wardrobe? Piñatex is revolutionary raw material formed from the by-products of the pineapple harvest in the Philippines. In this article, we’re going to fill you in on how exactly this material is made, what it can be used for and the benefits of such technologies. But first, a brief rundown of the harmful impacts of the leather industry and why exactly we need to invest in alternatives such as Piñatex.
Sustainability is no longer a trend. We should instead seek to embed it into every aspect of our lives. Businesses in all industries should be seeking to offer consumers the most sustainable and ethical option they can produce. In the apparel sector, this means seeking to not only reinvent how we use our resources but also considering the impacts of the very materials we use.
Leather is often argued to be a by-product of the meat industry and many people misconceive it as a ‘waste not want not’ issue believing that the use of leather is a useful way to combat waste in the meat industry. However, this is simply not the whole picture. According to One Green Planet, leather accounts for approximately 10% of a cow’s total value, making it one of the most valuable parts of a cow.
Take for instance this report published by Europa which stated that there was an increasing rise in the production of bovine meat in 2018 despite there being a moderate decline in the market price of actual sold goods. Whilst the leather exporting market still remains one of the most profitable exports in Europe with an estimated turnover of €48 billion in 2018.
Therefore, there is usually more of an incentive for producers to increase the supply of leather over meat production. Furthermore, leather production has been evidenced to increase air, water and soil pollution due to the harmful chemicals released from the tannery processes and these chemicals have been directly linked to increasing severe health issues for communities such as those in the hide production zone of Hazaribagh, Bangladesh.
These concerning issues have led manufacturers in the sustainable world to consider alternatives to leather and Ananas Anam are leading the way with their production of Piñatex. Unlike alternatives such as vinyl or synthetic leathers,Piñatex is developed from natural raw materials and can be biodegradable under observation. These are the processes which lead to the production of this clever material:
- Suitable plant leaves are collected, bundled and dried underneath the sun (or by drying ovens during the rainy season.)
- The dried fibers are purified and turned into a fluffy material called PALF which is then mixed with corn based acid to create Piñafelt, the non-woven mesh base of Piñatex.
- This Piñafelt is transported to Spain or Italy for a specialised finishing that can involve heat pressing, coating and colouring with GOTS approved processes. This is the final stage and we are left with a finished material ready to be used for whatever purposes!
Piñatex is 100% vegan certified and uses no animal products throughout its production. Additionally, itseeks to be socially responsible through its support of rural farming communities by “working directly with farming cooperatives to create an additional stream of income to pineapple farmers.” (Ananas Anam)
Ultimately, this material is offering a sustainable alternative to leather that doesn’t sacrifice on quality or durability. See below a handy diagram of the a typical life cycle of Piñatex material.
Source credit: Ananas Anam
As shown above, the production processes behind this material strongly exhibit the practises of the circular economy. From the use of excess plant materials from the harvest, to the coating and finishing stages, this material is sourced in the most sustainable of pracitises as possible. The materials are finished and coloured in compliance with the Global Organic Textile Standards and can be used for a variety of purposes to produce all sorts of good ranging from fashion & accessories to upholstery products.
Here at NAE, we use them for a variety of our products such as our ‘Lili Ballerina Shoes’ and also our ‘Noah Boots’. Click here to shop more of our Piñatex collection including our Women’s and Men’sproducts.
We are so proud to say that these shoes do indeed come from pineapples! Piñatex has allowed us to offer high quality and durable products that have low environmental impacts whilst maintaining high social responsibility. Let us know your opinion on Piñatex and use the #MadeFromPiñatex to showcase any products you may have that are made from this amazing material.