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KE Staff Awards 2022 Innovation of the Year: Ananas Anam Circular and Sustainable by Design

two hands holding pineapple leaf fibres
  • Written byYana Kasa
  • Published date 06 April 2023
two hands holding pineapple leaf fibres
Pineapple Leaf Fibre Extraction | Photography by Jacob Meantz, 2017

Knowledge Exchange is how we work with external partners to create positive change in our society, economy and environment. The KE Staff Awards 2022 celebrated and made visible the diverse range of Knowledge Exchange practices at UAL.

The Innovation of the Year award winners were InteractML and Ananas Anam Circular and Sustainable by Design.

Centre for Circular Design (CCD) collaborated with Ananas Anam to develop a new climate-friendly, biodegradable textile made from pineapple leaf fibres. The product was intended to improve upon existing synthetic single-use items such as hygienic wipes and reusable masks as well as a broad range of textile applications. The team at UAL assessed the environmental impact of different production routes and end-of-life possibilities considered by Ananas Anam.

The project ran alongside Research & Development and build upon the CCD’s research, integrating studies in environmental science with design and material innovation. The team examined the material in its lifecycle. First, focusing on processes for sterilising leaf fibres, then investigating textile blends, looking at aesthetics and environmental impact.

The most sustainable materials were selected, considering multiple environmental markers including global warming, eutrophication, water scarcity, chemical toxicity, and depletion of fossil fuel resources.

Finally, the team extensively mapped the end-of-life recovery options for the various materials in relation to the established hierarchy of waste. Working closely with a graphic specialist, the results were communicated through a comprehensive study of the lifecycle of the material. The new material is currently in the process of being commercialised as Piñayarn.

Find out more about the winners of the KE Staff Awards 2022 (PDF 3.8MB).