Headrest cover made of Aomori apples proves appealing to ANA

AOMORI—A headrest cover made largely from leftover apple parts debuted on All Nippon Airways Co.’s new “environmental” aircraft.

The leather-like material was developed by appcycle Inc. in this prefecture famous for its apples.

The start-up company, founded in Aomori city in May this year, wanted to address the issue of waste from the fruit.

“With this product, we will be promoting the apple industry and Aomori Prefecture all over the world,” said Yuka Shigeno, CEO of appcycle.

Pomace, the pulpy by-product generated from the pressing process to make apple juice, is dried and powdered. It is then mixed with other ingredients to create a “vegan leather” made entirely from plants.

ANA learned about appcycle’s environmental approach towards waste and asked the company to manufacture a headrest cover.

The fabric was used in the ANA Green Jet, which started operations for international flights on Oct. 5, under the theme of sustainability. Domestic flights using the specially painted plane will begin in November.

The cover will initially be used on only some of the seats. Its durability and passengers’ evaluations will be examined to decide if its use will be expanded to other flights.

“The environmentally sustainable material is of such high quality that it is difficult to believe that it comes from apples,” said Eiji Kojima, who heads ANA’s team involved in this project.

Yuka Shigeno, CEO of appcycle Inc., shows the headrest cover made from apple waste and other ingredients on Oct. 5 in Aomori. (Shuichi Doi)


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