Piñatex is a natural leather alternative made from cellulose fibres extracted from waste pineapple leaves.
After harvesting, pineapple leaf fibres are washed then dried naturally by the sun, or during the rainy season, in drying ovens. The dry fibres go through a purification process to remove any impurities which results in a fluff-like material which gets mixed with a corn based polylactic acid (PLA). The Piñatex material is then created through a mechanical process which interlocks and meshes together the long fibres from the pineapple leaves to produce a non-woven biobased layer which forms the base of all Piñatex collections.
The pineapple industry globally produces 40,000 tonnes of waste pineapple leaves each year, which are usually left to rot or are burned. Approximately 480 leaves, the waste from 16 pineapple plants, are needed to create 1 square metre of material. The material uses the long leaf fibres which are separated by the pineapple farmers for additional income, and the leftover biomass from the process can be used as a fertiliser. Piñatex is produced partially from a waste product that requires no additional land, water, pesticides or fertilisers.