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Asturias woman's pineapple-leaf 'leather' earns European Inventor Award nomination
05 May 2021 @ 18:56

A BRITISH resident is up for an award from the EU for inventing 'leather' from pineapple leaves – a no-kill and environmentally-friendly solution that looks just like the real thing and is suitable for shoes, belts, handbags and other hard-wearing accessories.

Carmen Hijosa, 69, is from Asturias in Spain's far north, but has been living between the UK and the Republic of Ireland since she was 19, and her business premises is in London.

“The material I've invented is made from discarded pineapple leaves, which are about a metre long,” Carmen explains.

“These leaves are of little value otherwise – normally, farmers just leave them to rot – but you can use them to create a thread that is then turned into a material which we are transporting to Spain from The Philippines.”

She has been nominated by the European Patents Office (EPO) for the European Inventor Award 2021.

EPO chairman António Campinos – from Portugal – says Carmen has been pre-selected in the small and medium-sized business (SMB) category.

Pineapple-leaf fibre on its way to becoming ‘leather’ (photo: Carmen Hijosa)

The leather-like material, named Piñatex, is suitable for use in household decorations, furniture and car upholstery as well as clothing, footwear and accessories, meaning it is built to last – although various plant-based alternatives to leather are on the market, in response to the growing demand for vegan products, they are mainly designed to be biodegradable. 

This is not ideal for goods that need to 'go the distance' and, effectively, live forever.

Read more at thinkSPAIN.com

 



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