Wool is a protein that grows from the skin of sheep, goats, and other similar animals. For textile use, the wool is shorn, spun, and woven into cloth
Is wool sustainable?
From a sustainability perspective, wool is an entirely natural product that is fully biodegradable. It breaks down quickly, returning its nutrients to the soil without releasing plastic microfibers into the environment.
All protein fibres come from animals, so the carbon footprint largely depends on the habits of the animals themselves. Approximately 50 percent of wool's carbon footprint comes from the lifecycle of the sheep, including the methane gas they release. After hemp, wool consumes less energy and has a smaller carbon footprint than any other textile.
Sheep can be raised on non-arable lands and rough terrains. They can live on land that is less manicured and processed. Increasing flock sizes can cause overgrazing. This can lead to very dry and fragile landscapes, displacement of native wildlife, and deterioration of the natural environment.
Many wool products do contain harmful chemical dyes or finishes which can be released into the environment. Commercial dyeing is a chemical-intensive process that relies on heavy metals and produces toxic waste. Since much of it is done in developing countries with minimal oversight and regulation, heavy metals and toxic waste are a frequent byproduct of all textile finishing.
It is a sustainable clothing option because it is a natural, biodegradable, renewable fiber source that returns its nutrients to the soil without releasing plastic microfibers into the environment
Wool can absolutely be sustainable but we have to trust that the farmers will take care of their lands, and that manufacturers will take care of their waterways and airways. We are all connected to the circle of life, and if we damage our lands, our air and our water, than we will start becoming damaged ourselves.
There are many cool incentives and innitatives taking place in Ontario for the sustainable growth of sheep. Sheep are apart of a circular economy. Check out how you can be apart of one too: