Our Sustainability Values
Unlike synthetics which are industrially produced from non-renewable fossil energy, natural fibres are a natural process using a simple blend of natural ingredients. For wool this is water, air, sunshine and grass.
Wool is grown year-round by Australia’s 71 million sheep, consuming this simple blend of water, air, sunshine and grass.
When wool is disposed of, it will naturally decompose in soil in a matter of months or years, slowly releasing valuable nutrients back into the earth. Synthetic fibres, on the other hand, can be extremely slow to degrade and significantly contribute to the world’s overflowing landfills.
Wool biodegrades readily in as little as three to four months but the rate varies with soil, climate and wool characteristics. This releases essential elements such as nitrogen, sulphur and magnesium back to the soil, able to be taken up by growing plants. Some studies found more rapid degradation after only four weeks’ burial in soils.
Natural fibres are renewable, meaning that they are able to regrow and replace themselves. Every year Australian sheep produce a new fleece, making wool a completely renewable fibre. As long as there is grass to eat, sheep will continue to produce wool.
In contrast, synthetic fibres such as polyethylene are made using industrial processing of oil, which is a non-renewable fossil resource.
Wool does not add to landfill volumes or microfibre pollution
Natural fibres biodegrade naturally in a relatively short period in soils and aquatic systems and therefore do not accumulate in landfill and oceans. Results from a University of Canterbury study demonstrate that wool degrades in a marine environment. In contrast, synthetic textiles persist for many decades and can disintegrate to small fragments. Commonly known as microplastics, or microfibres when less than 5mm in diameter, these fragments accumulate in aquatic environments and land disposal sites where they have negative effects on ecosystems when consumed by organisms. A single polyester fleece garment can produce more than 1900 fibres per wash. Ingestion has a negative impact on organisms, sometimes causing death through starvation as plastic replaces food in the stomach. Once in the food chain, microplastics potentially also affect human health via seafood consumption.