The long, fibrous leaves left over after harvesting pineapples are being used to develop Piñatex, otherwise known as pineapple leather. The innovative natural textile is one of the most popular sustainable alternative leathers available on the market, with Syrian designer Mariam Al Sibai leading the wave in the region.
The fibers are extracted naturally, dried and then mixed with a corn-based material to mimic the texture of cow leather. Not only does the eco-friendly material bring new income streams to subsistence farmers, allowing them to fully utilize their crops, but it is also a durable alternative that doesn’t use the petro-chemicals commonly needed for faux leather, which is produced from plastic.
Orange Fiber, an Italian company, states that they have “patented a technology that extracts cellulose from the leftovers that remain after the fruits are juiced” to produce a biodegradable, luxurious alternative to silk. Around 700,000 tons of juice byproducts are produced each year. In the past, they would be discarded, but not anymore! The silk alternative also acts as wearable body cream, because of the natural oils found in the fruit, such as vitamins A, C and E, which are released and then absorbed through the skin.