Sometimes I get blog ideas from Facebook, which is one reason I can’t see myself pulling out despite all the irrelevant, unwanted clutter there.
Former colleague Scott G. recently posted a curious item on Facebook about turning pineapple waste into leather — real leather, not “fruit leather.” It’s much better for the environment than animal-based leathers and more appealing to sustainability-conscious consumers than petroleum-based ones.
Adele Peters at FastCoexist says that Carmen Hijosa got the idea for a new, sustainable industry on a visit to the Philippines years ago. But first she needed a PhD.
“When leather expert Carmen Hijosa visited the Philippines to consult with the leather industry there, she discovered two big problems: The leather was poor quality, and producing it was bad both for the local environment and the people involved.
“But as she traveled around the country, she had an epiphany. The Philippines grows a lot of pineapples — and ends up with a lot of wasted pineapple leaves. The leaves, she realized, had certain features that might make it possible to turn them into a plant-based leather alternative. …
“She also looked at other local plants, such as banana fibers and sisal. But only pineapple fibers were strong and flexible enough to handle the manufacturing process she had in mind.
“Hijosa left her work in the traditional leather industry and spent the next seven years at the Royal College of Art in London, developing the material into a patented product while she earned a PhD. Now running a startup — at age 63 — she’s ramping up manufacturing of her pineapple-based leather, called Piñatex. …
“Her startup, Ananas Anam, has built its production from 500 meters to 2,000 meters, and [by August], she expects the next batch to be around 8,000 meters. But as the company’s capacity grows, demand is already outpacing supply. Companies like Puma and Camper have made prototypes with the material, and others are already using it.”
What an impressive woman! More here.
Because pineapple leaves would normally be wasted, turning them into leather, is an extra source of income for farmers.