Research explores new uses for wool

The days when sheep outnumbered people in New Zealand are long gone, yet wool remains a staple for many locally used, and exported value-added products.

New Zealand merino wool is highly valued internationally, and both the industry and the wool products made in Aotearoa now are much more varied than even five years ago.

Now sheep are not just farmed to be eaten and shorn. Thanks initially to a joint research initiative between the Wool Research Organisation of New Zealand, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, a variety of new uses for wool fibre were explored and developed. The latter has included the development of wool particles, powders and pigments having export potential for applications as diverse as cosmetics, printing, luxury goods and personal care.

Research led to the launch of commercial development company Wool Source to evolve new products and assess market demand for the strong (cross-bred) wool innovation, along with completion of its pilot production facility to manufacture its first deconstructed wool ingredients from 100 per cent biodegradable, renewable and sustainable New Zealand strong wool.

Today the company exists to commercialise and launch innovative new uses for New Zealand’s strong wool, that are good for people and the planet.

Much research today is focused on deconstructing wool to a cellular and particle level, and then reconstructing it
for various product uses.

CommonKind blankets-contributing to better health and wellness.

Wool is also enjoying a resurgence at a cottage industry level, and as part of sustainability initiatives.
Creating pure wool blankets, reinventing old blankets into fashionable garments, and using wool in the construction industry, are all developments bringing a spotlight back on to the country’s sheep and wool.

Here are some of the uses for this natural fibre:

– As mulch – several companies make wool pads designed as garden mulch.
– Insulation – in walls and roofs.
– Furniture and curtains – options are endless here.
– Fertiliser – broken down and re-invented.
– Skin Care, and cosmetics – from moisturisers, to lipsticks, to lanolin hand creams.
– Brick Reinforcement – added to the clay mixture for stronger, insulative bricks.
– Cleaning Material – such as polishing cloths and pads.
– Packing Material – good thick protective blankets.

Previous Post

Cycling journeys

Next Post

In the Hundred Acre Wood: Pooh Bear Live

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *