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From Pineapples to Textiles
Piñatex® is made from the leaves of the pineapple plant. The leaves are a byproduct of the pineapple-growing industry, which produces around 40,000 tonnes of leaf waste every year. By using this waste, Piñatex® is made from an existing resource – requiring no additional land, water, pesticides or fertilisers.
Carmen Hijosa’s inspiration for pineapple textiles came from the Philippines where pineapple fibres are traditionally processed using a broken plate and a clamshell. The resulting hair-like strands are then individually tied end-to-end to make metres’-long threads that are spun onto a reel and hand-loomed.
To make Piñatex®, an automated process separates the pineapple leaves into fibres and biomass – the latter converted into fertiliser or biofuel. This separation process, called decorticating, is a new trade within the pineapplegrowing industry; it’s creating an additional income stream for farming communities in the Philippines.
The pineapple-leaf fibres are felted into a nonwoven net-like mesh and given a protective coating. Approximately 480 leaves, the waste from 16 pineapple plants, are used to make 1 square metre of Piñatex®.