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New life for pineapple leaf waste

Significant volumes are commonly burnt, discarded into landfills, or composted, resulting in harmful environmental impacts.

2nd November 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Singapore

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

Singapore-based Nextevo is launching ready-to-spin fibres and yarns made from pineapple leaves.

In combination with other eco-fibres such as organic cotton, lyocell, recycled polyester etc., they can be used in blended yarns for the textile industry in applications including denim apparel, sneakers, upholstery and bath towels.

Southeast Asia is the world’s largest pineapple producer region with the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia amongst the top producers. Significant volumes of pineapple leaf waste that is generated is commonly burnt, discarded into landfills, or composted, resulting in harmful environmental impacts.

Working with local farmers, Nextevo is now collecting these pineapple leaves and turning them into value-added materials for the textile industry, not only minimising existing environmental problems in the process, but also supplementing income for farmers.

The joint venture in Thailand between Jinny Tantipipatpong, chairman of SAICO – the world’s fourth largest pineapple cannery producer – and Nextevo is creating a vertically integrated supply chain. This includes sourcing pineapple leaves and processing them into fibres and blended yarns.

Pineapple leaf fibre production in Thailand will result from a year-long journey from proof-of-concept to production. Trial production started in late September 2021 and the production volume will scale-up by first quarter 2022.

In Indonesia, sourcing has already begun with a farm cooperative, with plans to expand into also processing coconut husk waste into sustainable materials by second quarter 2022.

Nextevo Founder Harold Koh, who spent nine years as CEO of Great Giant Pineapple, the world’s single largest pineapple plantation in Indonesia, has built an extensive network in the agricultural sector. He plans to expand to other types of agricultural waste in Southeast Asia to provide sustainable value-added solutions at scale.

In the next three years, Nextevo aims to impact the lives of 5,000 farmers in Southeast Asia.

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