Piñatex: The environmentally friendly leather
If you like piña coladas…and want high quality fashion that doesn’t harm the environment, Piñatex could be the product you’ve been waiting for.
Leather has been a fashion staple and symbol of luxury for ages, but it comes with some less-than-glamorous costs. Producing animal-based leather involves heavy metals and hazardous chemicals, which takes a toll on the environment. In addition, animal-based leathers have a large carbon footprint because of the massive amounts of feed used to sustain the animals. Not to mention, many animal rights groups consider leather production a source of animal cruelty. For these reasons, there are some alternatives to leather that already exist in the market. These vegan leathers, however, often come with problems of their own. While vegan leathers do not harm animals directly, they can have just as big of an environmental cost as their traditional counterparts. For example, many faux leathers have a plastic component, and plastic is not a sustainable resource. In today’s world, consumers are becomingly increasingly conscious of where products come from and how they affect the environment, which could be bad news for leather.
However, if you’re a leather-lover, don’t despair just yet. While more traditional leather options may be on the way out, new options are just making an entrance. Dr. Carmen Hijosa, a leather expert who worked in the industry for years, has come up with a sustainable new textile called Piñatex. Piñatex is an alternative to animal-based and petroleum-based leathers, and it’s made out of pineapples. It has a low environmental impact because it is made from pineapple leaf fibers, which would otherwise go to waste. The process of extracting these fibers also produces biomass that can then be recycled as fertilizer for the pineapple crops, which increases sustainability. Piñatex does’t require any extra land, fertilizer, pesticides, or water, and it benefits pineapple farmers by providing them with another source of income.
The final Piñatex product is a non-woven textile that looks and feels like soft leather. It currently comes in neutral colors: charcoal, white (natural), and brown, and the recently added metallic gold. It’s all-natural, durable, light, and flexible. In other words, Piñatex has all of the best qualities of traditional leather without the environmental costs. Soon, you could be seeing Piñatex everywhere, from fashion, to furniture, to car interiors. In a few years, pineapples could be the new face of luxury.