When winter is around the corner most of us put on a wool sweater to keep us warm. The fabric is soft and cozy and something everyone loves to wear. But is wool a sustainable material?
It is derived from animals, so that makes for the first set of ethical considerations. This guide is made so that you know exactly how to buy wool in a responsible and sustainable way! So let’s dive in!
What is Wool And Is It Eco-Friendly?
So, is wool a sustainable material after all? Wool is a textile fiber that has been obtained from sheep and other animals and includes sub-categories such as cashmere, mohair, qiviut, and many other types of wool. Despite it being derived from animals there are still many reasons as to why it is considered a sustainable fabric:
Why Wool Is A Sustainable material
- First of all, wool is biodegradable. According to the IUPAC, a biodegradable fabric is the breakdown of an organic matter caused by a living organism such as a bacteria or fungi. Wool is biodegradable because it can be buried in the ground and organisms will eventually decompose it. Therefore wool will not itself have a negative effect on the environment.
- Secondly, wool is a tough material meaning that if you take good care of it, it will last forever. Wool is known for its strength and toughness.
- It is skin-friendly – Wool fibre is covered in alkaline salts and fats before it leaves the sheep’s skin follicle. This makes it perfect as a coat that can protect the fibre against sun, rain and wind. No pollution can penetrate it and every little dirt that might reach it will sit outside the fibre protect the bearer of it.
- Wool is highly durable, with inherent flame-resistant properties, it also has some natural water repellency. Wool is, therefore, a high-performance textile supporting any tough lifestyle and adventure.
Are Clothes Made Out Of Wool Bad For The Environment and Animals?
Australia is responsible for about a quarter of all wool produced on earth. Unfortunately, they also have a lot of cruel-like working habits and methods making the production of wool in Australia one of the least eco-friendly places on earth.
According to PETA, Australien sheep most commonly raised as merinos are bred to have an unnaturally excessive amount of wool per animal.
This overload of wool causes the sheep to die from heat exhaustion during the summer months and their wool attracts flies which breeds and lay eggs in the fur, eventually leading to infections and more.
Fortunately, more and more companies recognize the importance of sustainable and cruelty-free wool and see a market in this. So if you want to be sure to buy eco-friendly wool, consider buying from other countries or look for eco-certificates to make sure that the wool has been produced responsibly.
Can You Recycle Old Wool?
You can easily recycle your old wool sweater. One way to do it is to pass it on to someone you know or you can donate it to charity. The good thing about wool is that it can last for ages and still look good. So there is no reason not the recycle it.
How To Buy Eco-Friendly Wool
When you buy eco-friendly wool you should always take a look at its certifications. There are a number of certificates that can indicate wether or not the wool has been derived sustainably and if it is animal cruelty-free.
You should also look for companies that have an eco-friendly agenda in general and who supports fair working conditions. You can also look for second-hand wool clothing and help minimize production costs.
Some Sustainable Brands To Consider
I have tried to find some of the eco-friendly brands which support eco-friendly wool so that you won’t have to do the hard work! Check them out and consider buying your next wool piece from one of them. This way you will have made the most responsible wool choice.
- KOMODO has a couple of different merino wool sweaters that are worth checking out!
- IceBreaker sells wool clothes made from wool derived in New Zealand. It is a sustainable brand that cares a lot about the environment as well as animal welfare.
- Duckworth is a USA-based company and is definitely worth checking out!
I hope that you liked reading about sustainable wool and will remember this when you buy your next sweater (because I know you will buy wool again). As always remember to leave a comment down below if you want me to elaborate on something.