After I waxed rhapsodic about one of my favourite fruits a few weeks ago, apples, you will have to indulge me one more time with tech news that involves another type of fruit close to my heart: pineapples!
Or, more accurately, it involves the pineapples’ leaves — fashion designer Carmen Hijosa has created a textile called Piñatex, by adapting a traditional processing method from the Philippines. Her company manufactures a vegan leather alternative from the spiky fibrous pineapple leaves that are commonly discarded before the fruits are shipped from the farm.
In addition to concerns about animal welfare, the production of regular leather has massive environmental impacts. From the tanning process, to dyes, to dust, leather production takes its toll on the earth and the bodies of those engaged in the industry. And traditional vegan leather, while eliminating the animal cruelty aspect, can sometimes be just as earth unfriendly as regular leather.
This is why Piñatex is so interesting. The process makes use of a waste product that already exists, so would not require any more water or land than is currently being used. And it would provide extra income to farmers, and countries where pineapples are grown.
According to consumers, the fibre, while not totally leather-like, offers a comparable experience; holding up well in the rain and garnering “lots of compliments”! I consider this an object lesson in unconventional problem solving: sometimes the solutions are right in front of us – like in our kitchen counter fruit bowls