Recycled Wool: A Primer

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Discover – or Rediscover – Recycled Wool

With a brand-new report by European Outdoor Group and Greenroom Voice

Thanks to the growing relevance of sustainability for brands’ materials choices, interest in wool has been growing. For some wool is a familiar, dear acquaintance. For others, it is a novel material. At the same time interest in recycled materials has boomed and the questions that have been asked of materials such as cotton, polyester and nylon are now being asked of wool: is recycled wool a viable and desirable ingredient? What do we know about recycled wool, its processes and its value chain?

With this in mind, the European Outdoor Group (EOG), an association representing 100 outdoor brands, retailers and technology brands, and Greenroom Voice, its partner organisation for communication, have published Recycled Wool, an introduction to recycled wool, covering processes, sustainability and traceability, chemical management, and lead times.


The report was born from a research trip to the city of Prato (Italy), world centre of expertise in the field of open and closed loop wool recycling. Unlike many other textiles, used wool clothing has long been compatible with both open and closed loop recycling processes, and has been a commercially viable raw material for 200+ years – albeit a quiet one.


From about 2010 onwards, increased focus of the textile sector's environmental impacts has renewed interest in products that use "waste" as the primary input material. This change in focus, increasingly, leads to recycled wool.

The report finds that “recycled wool offers a double advantage to material portfolios by combining environmental benefits with the option for European near-shore quality production at affordable cost.”

This is the perfect time, the authors say, for brands to look more closely at how recycled wool.


Further Reading:

Dr Pamela Ravasio, EOG’s Corporate Governance and Responsibility Specialist, also addresses the topic of wool recycling in IWTO’s latest Wool Review issue 2, available here.

Discover more about this topic with IWTO’s handy fact sheet about the world of recycling & wool, here.

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