Pinatex – an ethical leather alternative

By Lorrin Windahl.

Leather. Like it or not it results in the death of the animal. Some may argue that it is the by-product of the meat industry and therefore a kind of recycling of a waste product. But others are not so assured given it is often more profitable than the selling of the meat. For those of us who do have a guilty conscience when we dress in our expensive soft leather shoes, there may now be an alternative which is much less detrimental to the animal. Pinatex. A leather alternative derived from pineapple waste.

Ananas Anam is the company responsible for this new ethical material. They have developed the material as part of their vision to produce textiles that “enhance the well-being of the earth and its people through the entire life cycle…” of their products.


The intended Lifecycle of Pinatex. Courtesy of Ananas Anam.

Pinatex is a non woven, sustainable textile that has been 7 years in development. The pineapple leaf fibres used in the material are a waste product resulting from the harvesting of the fruit. One of the great social outcomes of this textile development, is that by using these fibres, Ananas Anam are providing an additional revenue stream for pineapple farmers in the Philippines.

Some of Pinatex’s characteristics are that it is strong, breathable, soft, light, flexible and easily cut, stitched and printed on. It comes in various thicknesses and finishes, and has a roll width of 155cm.


Pinatex has a wide variety of uses including bags, shoes, clothing and even furniture. The image above illustrates the material’s many uses. Even well-known shoe manufacturers, Camper and Puma, have started using the material as a leather alternative.

Although I’ve been a vegetarian for some years, it has been a lot harder to remove leather from my wardrobe. Pinatex would certainly make it easier. So, hopefully we’ll see a lot more of this leather alternative in the future.



5 Comments on “Pinatex – an ethical leather alternative

  1. Lorrin, I have to disagree with your third sentence because leather is a by product and it is not a more profitable alternative to the meat. As a primary producer of non-merino lamb and of beef, I get no money for the hides of the animals. The processors do of course get sales from the hides, but just as they do offal and other waste products, the farmer is not making money, and therefore not making decisions on raising and killing animals based on leather income. Merino producers might get up to $10 per skin, but as the animal is worth more than $100 for meat, we’re talking <10% of the price the farmer receives is to do with skins. So again, not a factor in decisions to raise the animals in the first place.

    Fake leather like Pinatex certainly has its place for consumers who don't want any association with death to animals. But there should be no confusion with leather purchases resulting in extra animal deaths (at least not agricultural animals, I think your external link is only referring to profitable pelts from the fur trade, not leather). Leather is a by product of the meat industry.

    If consumers want to make fashion decisions with recognition of animal welfare that will result to changes on farms, I would highly recommend that they ask for non-mulesed merino wool when they next buy wool products. That sends a price signal and consumer demand message straight to the farmer. Improving demand for wool that is cruelty free will change the way sheep are treated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the feedback Julie. It’s great to get another opinion and one coming from a farming/agriculture background. I take your point on the meat industry and yes, the uptake of any new material always has an impact on other existing industries i.e. farming.


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