Pineapple leaves and banana stems can be used to make environmentally-friendly clothes and help recycle waste from the fresh produce industry, the Guardian has reported.
Eco-textile company Offset Warehouse is working with an NGO in Nepal to employ local workers in banana fabric production. Likened to hemp, the fabric is described as soft in texture and ideal for jackets, skirts and trousers, the paper said.
According to the Philippine Textile Research Institute, banana plantations in the Philippines can generate over 300,000 tonnes of fibre, with 37kg of stems needed to produce a kilogram of fibres.
Elsewhere, Piñatex is a patented technology that creates textiles out of pineapple leaves as a byproduct of the pineapple harvest, which can be used as a leather alternative in fashion, accessory or upholstery markets.
Originally developed in the Philippines by textiles company Ananas Anam, the company said there is now “significant research” being done in the UK and Spain to enhance the finishing technology.
It is touted as a way of using byproduct from the pineapple harvest, as leaves would otherwise be left to rot in the ground.
Producing Piñatex also creates biomass, which can be converted into fertiliser to help grow the next pineapple crop.
Ananas Anam said there is an “enormous opening” in the market for alternative materials, and although Piñatex is not yet commercially available, there are hopes it soon will be.