Here in the UK we aim to use as much of our wool as possible to keep our waste to a minimum amount. The best and softest fibres are used for clothing, knitwear, knitting and weaving yarns whilst more coarse fibres are used in the production of carpet yarns. Any processing waste such as yarn ends or substandard fibre can be used in the production of felted underlay and insulation.
The fibre needs to be sorted before getting to the processing stage. Once shorn from the sheep the dags and substandard can be removed and the good fibre rolled ready to be used for other purposes.
Reject fibres can be put into compost or on the garden. Wool works as a slug repellent due to its scales and is able to absorb water and bio-degrades slowly, making a good mulch, particularly for young trees and shrubs where there are weeds nearby.
At The Natural Fibre Company, our waste streams are used as follows:
- Reject fibre: sold for processing into felt or insulation
- Card waste: some can be re-cycled into woollen spun yarns and some is sold as higher quality fibre for re-cycling
- Shoddy: this is dirty, short or poor fibre which has fallen out while carding and is either sold for felt and insulation or can be used for mulch or waste
- Hard waste: this is spun waste, whether singles or plied and at present this cannot be re-cycled, though some hard waste can be processed by garnetting into fibres long enough for spinning, and this is how yarns are made from recycled wool and silk, mainly in India
- Our scour effluent goes to the land as a fertiliser
We also sell a lot of our waste material from our processing plant. If you are interested in purchasing some please visit our Recycling Our Waste Materials page.