According to the World Resource Institute, approximately 20 pieces of clothing per person are manufactured a year. This means that there are an astounding 152 billion* articles of clothing manufactured annually (!).
After making that rough calculation, I had to stop and think. Can it really be true? Well, go have a look in your closet and start counting. How many pairs of underwear do you have? What about socks? T-shirts? Let that sink in a second and the scale of the textiles industry suddenly comes to life.
With a growing global middle-class we can be sure that the demand for clothing (and many other goods) will continue to grow.
On the other hand, there has been significant interest in the natural and ‘sustainable’ textiles industry. You’ve probably seen it yourself: it’s much easier to buy organic cotton clothing at H&M than ten years ago.
But there are still a few caveats here (and I am not even getting into the social aspects of the textiles industry!). One of the major issues here is that we need land to grow these materials. Land that could have otherwise be used for other purposes.
Piñatex is an interesting solution to this conundrum. The fibre is the byproduct of existing pineapple agriculture systems, and their use creates an additional income stream for farming communities. Approximately 16 pineapple plants make one square metre of Piñatex.
What’s even more interesting is that this is not new. Pineapple fibres have been used to make clothing in the Philippines since the time that they were brought from South America by the Spanish. Sometimes you need to look back in order to move forward.
*Based on the assumption that 20 pieces of clothing are produced for each of the 7.6 billion people inhabiting this world.