There is a strain on the distribution chain to switch from a wasteful “linear” model of production to a sustainable “circular” model as the global textile and apparel industry faces demands from customers and authorities to decrease waste and pollution. Wool has a unique set of “circular” qualities, such as being a biodegradable and renewable fibre, and it can be reused and recycled, all of which should increase demand for the fibre among businesses in the supply chain, including brands and retailers.
Wool’s intrinsic inclination to a circular economy includes its status as a renewable raw material produced by sheep. Besides, the high rate of reuse and recycling of wool products and its biodegradability makes it all the more viable for future use. This is truly a circular economy; it goes beyond recycling. Wool production can reduce carbon emissions and increase biodiversity significantly. Additionally, unlike synthetic fibres, wool fibre doesn’t shed microplastics, which is a problem for the textile business.
Production: Sheep create fresh fleece annually, making wool a renewable fibre source. The essential ingredients of sunlight, water, grass, and clean air are used to develop wool. In comparison, synthetic fibres are made from energy sources and non-renewable chemical products, which, when removed, release carbon that was sequestered millions of years ago.
Disposal: A 100 per cent organic, biodegradable protein, comparable to that in human hair, makes up wool. The fibre of wool quickly breaks down in soil when a wool product approaches the end of its useful life and is disposed of, gently returning vital nutrients and carbon to the soil and serving as a fertiliser. On the other hand, synthetic fibres do not break down easily but rather build up in landfills and emit microplastics.
Shelf-life: The most crucial aspect influencing the environmental effects of clothing is how frequently it is worn. Clothing made of wool is often worn for longer lengths of time than clothing made of many other types of fibre. Wool clothing is also washed less frequently by consumers than clothes made of other fibres, conserving water, electricity, and solution.
Dye Repurposing: The fact that no extra dye is required to produce a colour in the manufacturing of recycled wool yarns and garments is another significant feature of wool as a circular material. You figuratively benefit from the hues leftovers and clothing had in their prior existence. It is made possible by the first and most crucial step in repurposing wool: “sorting.”Given that millions of knitwear, clothes, and trimmings are recycled annually, recycled wool storage facilities resemble enormous colour archives since they are stocked with scores of bales, each containing recovered wool fibres in various hues and tones.
Summing Up: Unacceptable pollution levels are produced by excessive production and consumption in the textile and apparel sectors. The fashion and textile sectors generate 75 to 150 billion clothes annually. Each person discards 11 kg of textiles each year due to fast fashion. There is a global movement to embrace a circular economy, driven by an order to shift the textile industry’s production approach from an inefficient linear system to a genuinely sustainable paradigm.
In addition, it is crucial to remember that continuing to work with wool results in lasting products, and nearly nothing is wasted. As a result, this priceless fibre may quickly go through several life cycles.