Let’s face it: everything you use and produce affects in environment in some way. Sustainability often comes into conflict with our purchases, forcing us to choose between comfort and environmental responsibility. The race is on to find options that meet both criteria, but one of the most sustainable, highest-performing materials is also one of the oldest: wool.
So what does it mean for a textile to be sustainable?
First, we have to look at the cost of extracting the raw materials. The environmental sacrifice of water and land to raise sheep for wool harvesting is far lower than that of extracting fossil fuels to create synthetic fibers.
Next up is textile production, which primarily measures the water and energy used for manufacturing. Because wool is spun from naturally-occurring, rapidly renewable fibers, it requires far less in the way of production than its synthetic counterparts.
Wool also wins out in terms of added chemistry—namely because it needs very little. Where some other fabrics contain harmful added chemical finishes and coatings with potentially carcinogenic properties, wool can rely on its natural flame-and-water-repellent properties to achieve the same effects without the environmental damage.
Finally, wool boasts the ultimate advantage: it is biodegradable. At the end of its life cycle, wool recycles naturally back into the earth. In contrast, many synthetic fibers are only recyclable indefinitely —and some not at all.
What makes wool a high-performance fabric?
The other side of the equation is performance: we want a material that meets high sustainability standards without compromising quality. Wool comes through on this front as well.
A highly durable “miracle fabric,” wool lasts for generations without significant wear, meaning your grandchildren could display the same rug in their home that you have under your feet right now.
And did we mention it’s beautiful?