Only 1% of all textiles are made from wool today. While more than 60% of textiles produced over the world are made from synthetic fibers, from non renewable sources, like oil. Not only do these materials shed microplastics when worn and washed, they also require many thousands of chemicals when produced, many known to be dangerous to humans and nature.
Wool on the other hand, is a natural protein fibre which grows naturally on sheep. It is made of keratin like human hair. Why create plastic fibers when we already have so much strong, versatile and naturally wonderful wool?
Wool is a natural renewable fibre. It has been used for thousands of years to keep us warm.
Consuming a simple mixture of water, air, sunshine and grass, sheep naturally produce fleece. All sheep needs to be shorn once every year, preferably twice. Sweden has very strict animal regulations that give us one of the highest animal welfare standards in the world.
Wool textiles can be used many more times than those of other fibres, especially when well cared for. The longer garments last, less resources are needed to create new garments, which reduces the impact on our planet.
The wool fiber is very elastic and durable. Studies show that a wool fibre can be bent more than 20,000 times without breaking. For cotton that number is 3,000 and for viscose 75 times.
The wool fibers help regulate the body temperature. Studies have shown that both by wearing wool or sleeping on a wool mattress or under a wool duvet, gives us a better sleep. Wool helps wick the moisture away, meaning wool prevents sweating. And also wool wont let too much of our body heat out, so we won't get cold wearing wool. Even when wool is wet, it will still keep you warm.
Due to wool’s natural properties of being naturally antibacterial, as well as odour and stain resistant, wool garments do not need to be washed very often. In fact it's better to just hang them out in the fresh air. If wool clothes are washed, it should be either by hand wash or at a low temperature wool cycle. Wool garments should not be put in the dryer.
This means that wool garments have a much lower environmental impact from laundry than clothing made from other materials.
Wool does not contribute to the global microplastics and microfibre pollution when worn and washed, as synthetic fibers do.
Wool naturally biodegrades in land and in water. Wool decomposes in a matter of months to a couple of years, releasing valuable nutrients back into the soil. Some farmers we work with would spread their wool onto their farmland to give nutrients to the soil instead of throwing it away or burning it. But of course they prefer to sell it!
As wool fibres are of high quality and very durable, so wool is a perfect fibre to reuse and recycle. This helps reduce landfill disposal, which is a big problem in the garments industry. Wool can be upcycled into woollen-spun knitwear, insulation and geotextiles. Wool has a great place in a future circular economy.
In Sweden the vast majority of all sheep are kept for meat. Their wool is seen as a byproduct and about 70% of all Swedish wool is being thrown away every year. At the same time Swedish companies import wool worth millions. A NEW SWEDEN wants to change this and make use of the wonderful Swedish wool.