The Design Center of the Philippines, an attached agency to the Department of Trade and Industry committed to strengthening the Philippines’ design ecosystem, recently launched pinyapel, a locally processed and manufactured specialty paper from locally sourced discarded pineapple leaves.
“Design Center’s pinyapel is a welcome development in our country’s materials library,” said Maria Rita O. Matute, executive director of Design Center. “Aside from indigenous raw materials, material choices now include processed agricultural waste, such as pineapple leaves, developed into high-value materials.”
As the second largest producer of pineapple products globally, the Philippines produces tropical fruit in millions of metric tons annually. In year 2017 alone, the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Selected Statistics on agriculture reported that pineapple production figures amounted to 2.671 million, with around 5 percent of which comprised of agricultural wastes such as pineapple leaves (Food and Fertilizer Technology Center).
Through the rigorous materials research and development efforts of Design Center, an IP (intellectual property)-protected process was developed, and yielded a specialty paper using pineapple leaves, reinforced and print viable for secondary packaging applications.
Nature’s Fresh Pineapples, who supplied the discarded pineapple leaves for the experimentation and prototyping phases of pinyapel, said that aside from the diversified use of pineapple leaves from their farms, the initiative also became a tool to increase the livelihood of their farmers.
“For every one cycle of drying, collecting, and bagging of five tons of pineapple leaves, it adds an approximately P1,753 to the weekly income of every seven pineapple laborers,” said Aleli Mae Uy, chief operating officer of Nature’s Fresh Pineapples.
Pinyapel also leverages the country’s agricultural industries to align with the UN Sustainable Development Goal of responsible production and consumption. With the increasing awareness of sustainability going around locally and globally, Design Center’s pinyapel initiative offers to spark more ideas of transforming local raw materials and agricultural and industrial wastes to high-value materials that can be used in new product development and innovative designs.