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Lifecycle Assessment of a recycled wool sweater shows reduced environmental impacts

The wool industry has had a long, successful and commercially profitable recycling system for the past 200 years. These well-established pathways champion evidence that wool is a highly sought-after fibre in both open- and closed-loop recycling pathways because of the fibre’s durability, quality and value. By recycling wool items through a closed-loop system, and putting the same wool fibres to further use, the environmental impact from these fibres is lessened.

The life cycle assessment of a recycled wool blend sweater and analysis of its environmental impacts has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Sustainability.

The research shows that impacts of a recycled wool product can be significantly reduced by 66-90% with best practice use and care, relative to that of a virgin pure wool sweater. These findings were consistent with previous research that showed extending the number of wears per garment life by the first and subsequent users is highly effective at reducing impacts.

The study also says that brands and consumers hold the key to increasing recycling rates and reducing environmental impacts via increased donation of garments for recycling and increased adoption of garments containing recycled wool.