What is the story with wool and its ability to sequester CO2?

The following facts pertain to the textile industry. Frankly, most studies on the subject relate to either carpets or fashion. We'll add to the mix with insulation as we grow. In the interim, there is no need to take our word for it as the correlations are real if not exact.

Commentary below is from the International Wool Textile Organization (IWTO). If you would like a copy of the complete document simply send me an email.

  • Pure organic carbon makes up 50% of the weight of wool, higher than cotton (40%) or wood pulp–derived regenerated cellulosic such as viscose (24%).
  • Converted into CO2 equivalents (CO2-e), 1 kg of clean wool equates to 1.8 kilograms of CO2-e stored in a durable, wearable form.
  • Extending this concept, the global wool clip represents around 1.05 million tons of clean wool which equals to 1.9 million tons of CO2-e, or 525,000 T of pure, atmosphere-derived carbon
  • Wool is readily biodegradable, unlike most synthetic fibres , and wool clothing and processing wastes are routinely recycled into other durable forms of textile (woollen-spun knitwear, insulation, geotextiles).
  • The carbon in wool is derived from carbon from the pasture – and thus sequestered from the current atmosphere.
  1. Wool is produced in extensive pasture systems, where the diet is dominated by grasses and herbs. These plants convert CO2 from the atmosphere into organic compounds using light energy - as part of the photosynthesis process which underpins most life on earth.
  2. Thus, when you purchase a wool garment, you are purchasing carbon sequestered from the atmosphere 1 – 2 years earlier.
  • By comparison, the carbon in the major synthetic apparel fibres such as polyester or acrylic is extracted from fossil fuels (de-sequestering carbon originally stored millions of years ago). 

The last point may be the most salient in understanding the correlation. Most other forms of insulation are either petro-chemical based or use an abundance of them in the production process.

We take wool from a sheep, using sheers; clean it; process it with electric vfd drive motors and 60 year old repurposed carding equipment; bag it and ship it to you to protect your live/work space with the most natural, environmentally friendly product the market has to offer. You might have to pay an extra buck or two per square foot, but does it really matter? Be less of a douche for a day or two and you'll have made up the difference!