Wool carpets grow greener

August 17, 2012

Wool is the quintessential green product – natural, renewable, breathable, fire resistant and – at least in New Zealand – grown on free-range sheep.

The fire-resistance makes wool carpets popular in aeroplanes.

Even without that, the other factors ought to appeal to consumers with a green conscience and a New Zealand company has developed something to make wool carpets tick another environmental box:

Carpet manufacturer Cavalier Bremworth has unveiled a world-first carpet backing product it hopes will secure its environmental footing in the market.

It will reduce around 1200 tonnes of waste from landfills each year because it’s made by recycling your old carpet – but only if it’s made from wool. 

It looks like regular old carpet, but replacing the usual jute backing with a recycled wool product has taken two years of development, so Cavalier Bremworth is quite excited.

“Jute is an imported product and it has variable supply and cost,” says Desiree Keown, Cavalier Bremworth marketing manager. “We’ve now secured a product made entirely in New Zealand using New Zealand labour, made entirely from New Zealand recycled carpet so it’s a perfect story.”

It is estimated Kiwis dump 5000 tonnes of carpet in landfills each year. Synthetic carpet takes 50 years to break down – even pure wool takes a year.

But Cavalier Bremworth will slash that waste by a quarter. It plans to recycle 1200 tonnes of old wool carpet, turning it into new carpet backing.

Natural, renewable, breathable, fire resistant,  grown on free-range sheep, using recycled material that reduces waste – how hard can it be to sell that?

 


Wool + waste = winner

October 15, 2010

Wool Partners International  will be supplying wool for WoJo – a furnishing fabric developed for Starbucks.

The Wellington based design team The Formary created WoJoTM for Starbucks by combining LaneveTM wool, with its sustainable, ethical and traceable qualities, with jute from recycled coffee sacks, to form the new furnishing fabric.

The fabric uses 70% strong and mid fibre wool and the jute is recycled from Starbucks’ coffee sacks.

Mixing wool with waste has to be a winner – a natural product meets waste reduction.

 Federated Farmers meat and fibre spokesman Bruce Wills is excited about the venture:

“It’s an inspiring twist on the adage of something new and something old.

“While the initial focus of WoJo is upholstering Starbucks’ 8,000 stores outside of the United States, The Formary has really created a whole new ecologically friendly fabric.

“With the manufacturing partnership with Yorkshire-based Camira, we have a genuine opportunity to get wool back into people’s minds for their homes, offices, schools and even public transport.   Not just here but right around the globe.

“It’s easy to overlook the nearly $600 million that wool generates each year for New Zealand.  Yet we feel the potential is more than five times that sum, if, and that’s the key word, we can spark wool’s renaissance. 

“The Formary’s commitment to wool shows it is possible and we believe New Zealand Trade and Enterprise can see the vast potential that wool has. 

“It’s this kind of joined-up approach to market and product development with the exporters, that will make consumers take that all-important second look at wool. . . “

Wool should tick all the boxes for consumers who want a natural, renewable product and WoJo is a wonderful example of what can be done with it.

More good news followed this announcement – a continuing world shortage of wool is having a positive impact on the price.

Although meat companies often get blamed for the depressed state of the sheep industry, meat prices haven’t been bad. It’s low prices for wool and other by-products which have kept returns low.

Big losses in the southern snow storms and restocking will keep the supply of lambs low this season which will also help prices.


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