business circular economy

How Pinatex makes leather from pineapple fibre

Pinatex is a sustainable alternative leather made out of the waste parts of a pineapple plant. It’s one of those ideas that’s good for people and for the planet, improving incomes for farmers and producing a true circular economy material.

Leather is complicated. It’s an animal product, which raises questions about animal cruelty and death. It also requires a lot of chemicals and water, and tanning is a notoriously noxious process. While working as a consultant to the leather industry in the Philippines, a Spanish designer called Dr Carmen Hijosa was shocked at the toll the business took on people’s health and on the natural environment. She began to investigate alternatives, and over the next seven years she developed Pinatex and the Ananas-Anam company to market it.

Hijosa’s new material takes the long fibres from pineapple plants, a common crop in the Philippines. Pineapples only flower and fruit once, so after the pineapples have been harvested the plant and its leaves are a waste product. Usually they would be burned or piled up to rot down, but using them for Pinatex has created a secondary income stream for farmers.

The fibres are extracted from the leaves – 480 leaves per metre of material – and the biomass that remains is composted. The fibres are felted into a versatile material that has been used to make shoes, bags, wallets, clothes and upholstery. It’s still very niche, but keep an eye out for it.



  1. There are many other sources of plant fibre (jute, sisal etc) which may also have potential to be felted into leather substitutes – so this would appear to have significant potential..

  2. I tried to source from them but they had it processed in Spain -shipped from the Philippines- and had IMO too many hoops in regard to requiring detailed ethical guidelines. I think they cannot see the forest for the trees.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: