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Environment

This vegan leather is made from a truly sustainable source: pineapples

Piñatex

You’ve probably heard of pleather or PVC, but what about faux leather made from pineapples? London-based company Ananas Anam has found a way to use the leaves of this tropical fruit to make a truly sustainable leather called Piñatex.

Piñatex was created by Carmen Hijosa, a 63 year old Spanish woman who used to work in the Phillipines leather goods industry in the 1990s. She started looking for alternatives to leather and found that a traditional Filipino garment called Barong Talong was made from the strong, durable fibres of pineapple leaves.

According to its website, Piñatex sells sustainable natural sustainable fabrics that are fashionable while helping to save the environment from further damage due to pollution.

Compared to real leather and other synthetic leatherers, Piñatex is a cruelty-free and sustainable option. Animal-based leather uses hazardous chemicals like formaldehyde and heavy metals which can pollute water and raising animals for leather leaves a large carbon footprint. Fake leathers are usually made from a plastic product derived from petroleum, and aren’t much better for the environment.

To make the faux leather, the fibres are extracted from pineapple leaves on plantations by farmers in the Philippines. The leaves are normally left to rot after the fruit is harvested, but Piñatex repurposes them to make leather.

The leaves are cut up and layered before going through an industrial process to make the final product. A byproduct of the process is a biomass which farmers can use as fertilizers.

"We are an alternative to leather and an alternative to petroleum-based textiles which is sustainable and has a strong sociological and ecological background,” Hijosa told the Guardian.

The textile can by dyed and treated to make different textures and is amazingly similar to real leather. It’s been used in clothes, bags, shoes, and even furniture.

The faux leather is sold in bulk to other designers and brands. Companies including Puma and Camper have expressed interest in partnering with Piñatex. The company has also won innovation awards from groups like PETA and London’s Royal College of Arts.

Besides the right to brag that you’re wearing pineapple, the main allure of Piñatex is how environmentally friendly it is. As a byproduct of the pineapple, Piñatex doesn’t require additional land or water to be produced. You can eat your pineapple and wear it too!