Natural’s Not Enough


Natural Isn’t Enough

I come from a land where there are many more sheep than people;   a land untouched by Europeans until only 150 years ago.   As you can imagine when I left New Zealand seven years ago as a carpet designer I had spent my life working and living with natural fibres like wool.  I designed and exported beautiful wool carpets all over the world.   When you do something well it gets noticed so I was then asked to come to the UK to show the rest of the world how to create a business around excellence in wool product development.

The UK like New Zealand has a long history with wool, cotton and other natural fibres.  It was textile manufacturing that sparked the industrial revolution in Manchester which shaped the world as we know it.

For centuries man has been using wool to warm his cave and shelter his family.  The benefits of natural fibres were pretty obvious.

Roll on to 2013 and we live in a world where 97% of Americans are living on synthetic materials made from oil.  Today only 30% of Brits are living with wool and even in New Zealand, I am ashamed to say, people are choosing plastic based carpet with a small amount of recycled content and think they are saving the planet!

So it is blatantly clear.  Being Natural is No Longer Enough.

Wool carpets need to be acknowledged as a lifestyle choice that will have a positive impact on the health and comfort of our families.

Wool carpets remain the very best thing you can put in your home to create a warm and safe environment.  Wool absorbs indoor air contaminants like formaldehyde and locks it away for up to thirty years.  Wool carpets trap dust and keep it out of the breathing zone.  Wool carpets with a good underlay absorb shock and assist with posture, as well as being anti-slip.   Walk across a hard floor and then a wool carpet and hear the difference, or rather don’t hear it.

It seems that in focussing on colour and style, which of course wool offers more options for than any other material, we have lost sight of what really matters.  The comfort and wellbeing of human beings and the future of our planet.

Wool is of course the ultimate eco-warrior fibre.  Sheep in New Zealand grow a new fleece every year.   Wool is 50% carbon which means that it’s a carbon sink locking C0² away from the ozone layer.  New Zealand wool is the purest and most ecological of all and is only grown on free range farms under strict animal welfare, environmental and social standards.

Through the Wool for a Better World program.  At Wools of New Zealand we support the Heiffer foundation through the sale of wool carpets, we support the endangered Hector’s dolphin through the sale of wool fabrics and we support the Woodland trust in the UK through the sale of our recycled underlay.   On top of being brilliant at designing stuff, giving back to the environment through these activities and just being really nice people perhaps it is time to get active and shout louder,  perhaps it time we start a war on oil instead of a war for oil?

Let’s get reminding people of the many technical benefits of wool and try to stop this mad obsession with oil based plastic carpets and noisy hard floors.

New Zealand wool factory

Wool growing in New Zealand

9 thoughts on “Natural’s Not Enough

  1. I’d add: Wool carpet is also anti-static, and it does not cling to dirt like a synthetic carpet (says she who lived in a house with a nasty synthetic carpet and cursed her landlord on a daily basis from the inconvenience it caused). It is extra insulation for the house (and feet) and lasts a lot longer than the synthetic variety of carpet.

    • Ah yes, anti static, flame resistant, biodegradable, renewable.. The list is endless… I haven’t even mentioned the fluffy sheep. thanks for sharing on Kiwi Yarns! seems you have quite a following!

  2. Also when a wool carpet is past its useful lifespan you can use it in the garden as weedmat without worrying about what you’re doing to your soil. We recarpeted last winter, the selection of 100% wool carpets available in NZ was pretty slim, we were lucky to find what we wanted and now we have a beautiful charcoal heavy duty wool carpet on our floor.

    • Good Point. Wool actually acts as a soil conditioner, retaining moisture and releasing essential nutrients slowly. wool contains nitrogen, sulphur and lots of good stuff plants love. It’s made from grass after all. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Yes yes yes! “perhaps it time we start a war on oil instead of a war for oil?”
    Absolutely!!!
    I cannot walk into a carpet showroom these days, because of the amount of toxins outgassing from the synthetic fibres. While I do have some concerns about some of the processing methods with wool, it is still a much better solution than synthetic, and something that can be worked on. Synthetic can NEVER improve.

  4. Was extremely frustrated last year trying to find new wool carpet to replace my 25 year old wool carpet. I was only replacing it because it had delaminated from sun damage on my stairs. The salesmen in the carpet showrooms pushed synthetic carpet in what I felt to be an overbearing manner, putting wool down in favour of synthetic. I DID NOT want to place the horrible product they were promoting in my home, but they insisted it was a superior product, stain resistant and colour fast. Well, when I lifted the old carpet I could see where there had been spills (that were treated immediately) with no sign on the surface, so felt that as I had said to them that wool is stain resistant when treated properly.
    I did find that the majority of women agreed with me that wool is better, and wonder why the salesmen are pushing non wool carpets. Are they getting kickbacks from the company producing it? We produce the raw material in our country, synthetic is make from costly petrochemicals and yet we have mills closing and an industry that is struggling. Wool carpet insulates, is warm underfoot (and cool in summer) and smells wonderful, not of nasty chemicals. Long live wool carpet!!!

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