Food waste is a huge problem, and easily damaged fruit makes up a disproportionate amount of unnecessary spoilage. Approximately 45 percent of all produced fruit and vegetables ultimately go to waste.
Dr. Carmen Hijosa, Founder and Chief Creative & Innovation Officer for Ananas Anam Ltd, was consulting on the Philippines leather export industry in the 1990’s. Shocked at the environmental impact of mass leather production and chemical tanning she realised this could not continue, but knew that PVC alternatives were not the solution. She was driven to research a sustainable alternative.
Typically, the industry burns pineapple leaves or sends them to landfills, contributing to the production of CO2, methane, and other harmful emissions. By using pineapple leaves as a base for the production of its patented fabric, Piñatex simultaneously removes them from the waste stream and provides a sustainable alternative to high-polluting and destructive traditional leather.
The collection of these leaves enable the farmers that work with Piñatex in the Philippines not only earn a second stream income but helps them with the farmland's waste management as well, as these would have otherwise be burnt or thrown away.
Then, the leftover biomass produced from the fibre extraction is used as fertilisers when they replant the crop - not only creating cost savings for the local cooperatives but most importantly, adhering to zero waste principles and the circular economy philosophy.
With over 13 million tonnes of pineapple leaf waste being produced annually, this company is addressing an innate waste problem by turning the pineapple leaf fibres into an amazing textile that has a low negative impact to the environment while having a high social impact.
Source: Ananas Anam