The uses for wool are seemingly never-ending; carpets, rugs, bedding and clothing are just a few of the ways we use wool in our everyday lives. There are also many more obscure ways wool is being used around the world. Read on to find out.
1. Erosion Control
Wool matting is highly effective for preventing the erosion of exposed soil, protecting it from the effects of wind and rain. It also assists vegetation growth by insulating seeds and roots and allowing water absorption while protecting from extreme heat. It also reduces the need for chemical sprays (it naturally suppresses weeds) and is biodegradable, making it an environmentally-friendly, sustainable product.
2. Firefighters' Uniforms
Thanks to its fire retardancy up to 600°C, wool is the preferred material for the protective uniform worn by firefighters. As well as being flame resistant, it also won’t melt in high heat – or when something burning touches/falls onto it – and won’t shrink or stick to the skin. Wool also doesn’t produce any toxic odours and singes rather than burns.
Wool insulation is being used all over the world. It’s an environmentally-friendly insulation option, and its natural sound absorbency makes for friendly acoustics in homes and commercial buildings. The fact that wool absorbs and releases moisture means it exceeds the performance levels of standard synthetic insulation. Not only that, it's healthier for installers, and protective equipment isn’t required thanks to wool’s nontoxic natural properties.
4. Oil Spill Clean Up
Wool is effective in cleaning up oil spills, thanks to its absorption ability. It not only absorbs oil once but several times after being wrung out and used again. Proving it is once again a natural fibre with superpowers, wool can absorb up to ten times its weight in heavy fuel oil. Discoveries like this are hugely instrumental in looking after our planet when disaster strikes.
5. Garden Fertiliser
Believe it or not, wool has more than one use in the garden. An organic alternative to synthetic varieties, wool makes an absorbent, environmentally-friendly garden mulch. Turning leftover scraps of wool into fertiliser makes it even more sustainable.
6. Last but not least … Surfboards!
Yes, you read that correctly. New Zealand-based surfboard maker, Paul Barron, has teamed up with US-based company, Firewire Surfboards, to design and manufacture a range of surfboards aptly named ‘Woolight'. While a regular surfboard is filled with fibreglass and housed in resin, the Woolight range replaces the fibreglass with wool. The tensile strength of wool makes for a lighter, more flexible surfboard – not to mention a more environmentally-friendly one.
Nothing beats comfort when it comes to your home or the clothing you wear, and that's why wool is so popular. However, the uses for wool extend far beyond the bedding and flooring found in our homes and the future of this environmentally-friendly, natural fibre is just beginning.