Can choosing wool really save the world?

Can choosing wool really save the world?

Is it true that sheep and their wool might be the answer to all our most intractable problems? Climate change, Brexit paralysis, manufactured pop music?

The little flock at Higher Hill Farm is unlikely to bring Kim and Trump back to the table any time soon (whatever their appetites) but the sheep here are much healthier than the political climate virtually anywhere and they are certainly less toxic than a manmade fibre duvet.  

Getting out of the office last week (yay!) to undertake our 1st #minibeachclean, has reinforced our passion for natural, sustainable biodegradable wool - a stark contrast to the plastic plague we found on the beach.

As a fibre, wool makes a difference in many ways. We can wax lyrical about the many different benefits of wool (and will do in future Wool Company Yarns) but today, we’re focusing on how wool can help solve two major concerns of our day – the health and wellbeing of both our planet and ourselves.

Health & Wellbeing for Us and the Planet

The problem

In fabric terms, the problem we’re facing is that over the last century or so, we have developed and widely adopted the use of man-made synthetic fibres. These fibres are almost usually synthetic petrochemical products. They come from crude oil drilled out of increasingly inaccessible parts of the earth. They take 450-1,000 years biodegrade in our landfill, are usually not recyclable, (and then only recyclable once), are not reliably ethically produced and wash off or break up into minute plastic microfibres that enter into the watercourse, pollute our oceans and subsequently enter into our food chain or as plastic dust can enter our lungs.

The risk of respirable synthetic fibre dust causing cancer and other pulmonary diseases is still unknown (1) with the UK Government recommending ongoing research.  So, whilst manmade fibres certainly have unarguable uses, we believe and we think you might agree they should be kept well away from enclosed environments like the home.

sheep at The Wool Company

Wool as a solution

If we were all to choose to wear, wrap ourselves in, sleep under and walk on wool, we would:

- be supporting a sustainable, planet-friendly farming process that maintains our countryside and surrounding environment

- be supporting that very same farming process that can sustainably produce an endless supply of a wonderful, natural, warm, durable, renewable, recyclable & biodegradable fibre

- need to wash our clothes less frequently, at lower temperatures, which has a lower impact on the environment

- reduce the amount of non-biodegradable, synthetic fabric, that will be kicking around in landfill for millennia

- minimise the microfibre pollution in water courses and oceans and our lungs.

Wool Company duvet emblem

Health & Wellbeing of ourselves

The problem – allergies & sleep deprivation

We all know at least one person who suffers from unpleasant and often dangerous symptoms of allergies. Many allergies and breathing difficulties can be blamed on the pollen count or air pollution but you’d be surprised how many of us are sneezing, snuffling, coughing, wheezing and scratching thanks to an adverse reaction to dust mites… and their protein-rich droppings.

Dust mites are everywhere but they are prolific in warm, humid environments. Through a process of elimination, we routinely hoover, dust, wash, beating and air our rooms and bedding, replacing inviting drapes, carpets and curtains with hard flooring and louvred blinds to combat the scourge. But still end up sneezing, snuffling and coughing at night. One vital thing to add to that checklist is whether your bedding is made of synthetic fibres... this may be the root cause and ultimate harbourer of dust mites…

But night-time coughing fits are not the only thing that can plague our nocturnal slumber. When it comes to sleep, there are a multitude of reasons why, from the very youngest to the very oldest of us, we struggle to have a decent night’s sleep but believe it or not, moisture is a key factor contributing a fitful night’s sleep.

During scientific studies, it was found that the average person perspires around a pint of water a night (which down or synthetic fibres cannot absorb successfully). These increased moisture levels then sit on the skin, raising the body’s temperature above the recommended 30-50%. This causes a heat build-up which is enough discomfort to wake a person from sleep, especially during stage four.

The solution - Hypoallergenic wool and a restful night’s sleep

Wool bedding has been proven to go a long way to providing respite for both allergy sufferers and fitful sleepers alike.

Take allergies, for starters: wool is a natural fibre that wicks away moisture, absorbing and holding 30% of its own weight in moisture, but then ‘desorbs’ or releases it to evaporate into the air. The result is an environment too dry for dust mites to survive in. Dust mites simply hate wool: the environment is too dry and they struggle with the rough surface of the wool fibre. Wool also has natural anti-microbial properties so when you do eventually need to wash it, even in a cool wash, it still remains allergy-friendly.

Then, for poor sleepers: did you know that wool bedding can improve sleep by 25%, ensuring a longer and deeper sleep than with other types of bedding? This is also essentially down to this same wicking and moisture control performance that relieves allergy sufferers - but in this scenario, it removes the surplus moisture and enables the body to self-regulate its temperature. Science aside, our customers have certainly vouched for wool’s effectiveness in their feedback and repeat orders.

Wool Company Sheepskin comforter

It’s no surprise that our best selling sheepskin for babies is the Baby Lambskin Comforter - it provides soothing support, comfort and warmth to ensure your baby drifts into a wonderfully relaxed sleep. What more can a sleep-deprived parent ask for!

Keep reading our Wool Company Yarns to discover other amazing benefits of wool, how it can make a difference in your life and why you too should #choosewool - it’s a lifestyle choice and it’s an easy one to adopt!

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  • Author image
    Harry M. The Wool Comany: March 15, 2019

    @Ali you are quite right! Our duvets certainly don’t but most wool duvets with pure cotton casings DO contain polypropylene interlinings. This is not mentioned on the packaging or the retailers’ web sites. The plastic interlinings make the duvets almost impossible to recycle and the retailers’ lack of transparency about the manufacture deceives customers for whom this is important feature.

    If it is a cheaper wool duvet it is likely to have the unmentionable interlining. This allows the manufacturer to use a cheaper cotton casing and relying on the polypropylene to keep the wool in the duvet. This has the knock on effect of producing a poorer drape and lower quality sleep. You get what you pay for!

  • Author image
    Ali: March 15, 2019

    I have a wool duvet, but was told that some of them have a polypropylene lining or cover, even though the Fogarty best nights sleep duvet is advertised as being made of 100% New Zealand Wool Filling with 100% cotton cover. This is misleading advertising and I now have one of these duvets, but still don’t know the true composition!

  • Author image
    Sheila Potts: March 02, 2019
    Not sure if I could wear wool next to my skin but agree that we should use more wool in products

    We should help all farmers by using there products and try and bring us back to a more natural
    World that I knew many years ago

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