Piñatex is an innovative natural textile made from pineapple leaf fibre. Piñatex was developed by Dr. Carmen Hijosa. She is the Chief Creative & Innovation Officer for Ananas Anam Ltd. Piñatex is manufactured and distributed by Dr Hijosa’s company Ananas Anam Ltd. She is an ethical entrepreneur with a vision for a more sustainable future that connects people, environment and economy. Piñatex is strong, versatile, breathable, soft and flexible, material which can be easily printed on, stitched and cut making it suitable for a number of fashion products. The use of pineapple leaf fibre, an agricultural waste product, provides the opportunity to build a scalable commercial industry for developing farming communities, with minimal environmental impact.
Approximately 480 leaves (the waste from 16 pineapple plants) are needed to create 1 square metre of material. The material uses the long leaf fibres which are separated by the pineapple farmers for additional income.
The result of years of work was the development of a new type of natural tissue, which is 100 percent vegan and sustainable as it is made from pineapple leaf fibres, a by-product from the pineapple harvest in the Philippines. “The fibres are extracted from the leaves during a process called decortication, which is done at the plantation by the farming community,” explains the company in a statement.
The fibres then undergo an industrial process to become a nonwoven textile. Before shipping all over the world a unique finishing process is done. The by-product derived from the manufacturing process of Piñatex is biomass, which is converted into organic fertilizer or bio-gas and used by the farming communities. Manufacturing process of traditional leather involves use of toxic chemicals. Manufacturing process of Piñatex does not include the use of toxic chemicals and heavy metals, which are harmful to both the environment and the people making the material. The material does not contain any animal by-products and is made from the waste of an existing industry, making it a more sustainable choice in comparison to leather.
It has been used in the manufacture of such products as bags, shoes, wallets, watch bands, and seat covers. The textile is being further developed for use in clothing.
Piñatex was the first raw material to with the Innovation Award in 2015 and named the Grand Designs Green Hero in 2016. The brand was also named a certified cruelty-free label in 2015 by PETA.