1. Sustainability problem: leather production
The textile industry produces a lot of leather. The production of leather is extremely resource-intensive (water, land, food, fuel) and produces large amounts of waste, including toxic chemicals used in tanning. Faux leather (e.g., made from PVC) is another prevalent material and is not a sustainable material either as its production and disposal release a lot of toxic materials into the environment.
2. Technology Summary
Source: “63-Year-Old Designer Creates Faux Leather From Pineapple Leaves”, Greenmatters (http://www.greenmatters.com/living/2017/10/19/Z1Y0sHm/63-year-old-designer-creates-faux-leather-from-pineapple-leaves)
- This article discusses a materials technology innovation called Piñatex, which is a material made from discarded pineapple leaves and serves as an alternative to leather and faux leather
- As pineapple leaves are a crop by-product, creating the material is not resource intensive, requiring no additional water, land, fertilizer, or fuel to make the material
- Sourcing pineapple leaves from pineapple farmers also provides these farmers with an additional revenue stream
- The resulting material can be mass-produced and used for virtually everything that leather could be used for, including apparel, shoes, bags, car seats, and upholstery
- This material is produced in a closed loop process, starting with sourcing the pineapple leaves directly from farmers, returning any waste products during production to pineapple farms to be used as fertilizer, and composting piñatex materials at the end of a product’s life
Tags: #textiles #materialsresearch #fashion #sustainability #closingtheloop #cradletocradle
Piñatex is currently only distributed in a brand-to-brand (B2B) format. Therefore, the key stakeholders are companies that currently design products with leather or faux leather. Specifically, design teams would need to learn about the material and design with this material in mind.
End customers are another stakeholder as they could drive demand for this material, asking companies to include this material in their collections in the future.
4. Deployment Strategy
- Proactively send samples to key companies that design with leather and/or faux leather and have sustainability goals, e.g., Eileen Fisher (fashion), Veja (shoes), Matt and Nat (bags), Tesla (car seats), etc.
- Build relationships with fabric retailers in cities with large fashion industries (e.g., New York City, Los Angeles, London, Berlin, etc.)
- Explore partnering with pineapple farmers in other parts of the world to increase production and reduce the carbon footprint for customers in other parts of the world (other top pineapple producing nations are Costa Rica and Brazil)
5. Comment on Another Post
I commented on “Sensor-Packed Pedestrian Crossing”
The article also discusses how this sensor-based crossing is envisioned to be integrated into the road. A responsive, sensor-based surface made of steel would be integrated under the regular road surface. On the top of these two layers of the road would be the LED lights, covered in a high-impact plastic to prevent damage from vehicles and weather.