Where does Piñatex come from?

Model with gold Tasman Piñatex bag over shoulder

Have you seen our bags made of Piñatex?  

Our Piñatex bags are simple and classic designs with two tassel zipper pulls and a removable shoulder strap.  The Tasman Piñatex bags are made even better by being made out of this eco-friendly material, Piñatex.

So what is Pinatex?

Piñatex is a natural, sustainable textile made from the cellulose fibers of pineapple leaves.  It is an innovative alternative to the polluting, synthetic materials and mass-produced leather used in much of the fashion industry.  Piñatex is PETA certified and vegan.

Farmer harvesting pineapple leaves in field to make Piñatex

Harvesting the life fiber | Image courtesy – Ananas Anam

Where do all the Pineapple leaves to make Piñatex come from?

The leaves are a byproduct of the pineapple industry in the Philippines that would otherwise be burned or left to rot.  Since these leaves are a byproduct of this industry, it takes no extra water or land to produce them. The production of Piñatex also provides extra income for the pineapple farmers as there is now a demand for the otherwise unused leaves.  

Decortication process in making Piñatex

Decortication Process | Image courtesy – Wikipedia

How are pineapple leaves processed into Piñatex?

Step 1)  After the pineapple leaves are cut, the long fibers that become Piñatex are removed through a process that is called decortication.  The decortication process is done by the farmers on the farm. The company that developed Piñatex has now made a machine that helps with the process.  After this process, the farmers are left with the long fibers and the leftover parts of the leaves. Luckily, this leftover biomass is rich with nutrients that allow it to be used as biofuel or fertilizer.  

Step 2)  At this point the long fibers can be washed and dried and are ready to be degummed.  

Step 3)  The dried fibers are then degummed, a process in which the fibers are turned into a non-woven textile.  At this point, the fiber becomes a felt-like material.  

Step 4) The non-woven textile gets shipped to Spain for the finishing process that makes the material more sturdy, like leather.  The Piñatex is then shipped from Spain to makers all over the world.

Pineapple leaf fibers drying on line

Drying Process | Image courtesy – Wikipedia

Who developed Piñatex?

Dr. Carmen Hijosa created Piñatex, while looking to create a version of leather that had a decreased environmental impact.  In the 1990s, Dr. Hijosa worked in the leather industry in the Philippines and saw how the mass production of leather had a negative impact on the environment and the people processing it.  At this time, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) was an alternative to leather that was being used, but she was looking for something better. So, she created Piñatex, a replacement for leather with less environmental impact and also happens to have a positive economic and social impact.  

Dr. Carmen Hijosa with non-woven roll of pineapple leaf fiber

Dr. Carmen Hijosa with the rolls of unwoven textile | Image courtesy – Ananas Anam

So is it truly eco-friendly?

We want to think so as we like to provide fashion with less of an environmental impact.  However, in the finishing process Polylactic acid (PLA) and petroleum-based resins are added to the non-woven fibers to make it look and feel more like leather.  PLA is said to be made from renewable resources and also called bio-plastic. However, both PLA and petroleum-based resins may be a cause for environmental concern.   

If you made it this far, we are happy you stuck with it to learn about Piñatex and where it comes from.  We love providing our customers with unique, new, eco-friendly bags. If this has piqued your interest, we hope you check out our black and gold Piñatex bags.

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