Celebrate the first European Wool Day on 9th April 2021
Posted on April 08 2021
More than 100 million sheep now graze in Europe, reared together with their little lambs to produce cheese milk and meat for homes and restaurants. However, each of them naturally produces about 1.5 kg of wool per year and in the spring, it must be shorn for animal welfare so as not to suffer from the summer heat.
European Wool Exchange (EWE) is aiming to create a better coordination of the many associations and groups in Europe that are interested in the circular economy of wool, and in its return to our society as a precious resource for many uses. EWE supports the development of the European Wool Observatory and European Wool Bank concepts.
EWE is pleased to announce that it will be organising the first European Wool Day on the 9th April 2021. The aim is to celebrate wool and to raise awareness of European wool and the day provides a unique opportunity to get involved on a European level.
- Wool has so many uses.
In the textile industry it is used to produce cloth and garments as well as furnishings, curtains, carpets and bedding.
In the construction industry it can be used as an insulation material. Its lanolin has always been used in cosmetic production and it is a natural agricultural fertiliser.
- Wool is good for health.
Wool acts as a thermostat, regulating our body heat so that we are not too hot or too cold.
The structure of wool enables it to effectively trap pockets of air to act as an insulation against the cold and heat. It absorbs perspiration and releases it into the air (‘wicking’) thereby creating natural ventilation.
Pastimes such as knitting and crochet help keep our minds alert and our hands agile whilst helping us deal with anxiety. Such hobbies offer the opportunity for greater social interaction and provide the maker with a creative outlet and ‘slow fashion’.
- Wool is good for the planet.
If we are able to create a circular wool economy then we may have the opportunity to leave our children and grandchildren a healthier and cleaner planet.
Amongst the many advantages in using wool:
- Wool is a renewable natural fibre
- Wool products are entirely biodegradable
- Wool can be recycled at home
- Wool can be recycled in industry
- Wool absorbs moisture without feeling wet and releases moisture by evaporation making it excellent for sportswear
- Wool does not retain odour nor stain easily and requires fewer washes
- Wool does not burn easily nor does it emit toxic fumes
- Wool cloth is elastic thereby keeping its shape
- Wool keeps you cool when it is hot and keeps you warm when it is cold
- Wool garments last longer, need to be washed at low temperatures and do not produce synthetic micro fibres that enter our water system
Despite all of the advantages that wool has over synthetic fibres, the European wool sector has been decimated over the past 50 years. Synthetic fibres now account for over 65% of global production and the market continues to grow as more people prefer the standardised, relatively cheap alternatives to natural fibres.
The situation is very critical in some parts of Europe where for various reasons it is economically impossible for the raw wool to find a buyer, therefore the temptation is to abandon the wool in the field, or in some extreme cases to destroy it. Last year in the UK, newspapers were full of stories of farmers burning their wool as it had no value!
Natural fibres are part of our culture and heritage with their production supporting small scale farmers and indigenous communities. Many economies rely on the production, processing and export of natural fibres to provide a livelihood for millions of small scale farmers and workers worldwide.
We need to reassess the value of wool and our natural fibres. Even wool unsuitable for further processing can be used as fleeces to repair paths and hiking trails or processed as fertiliser.
For further information: https://www.ewe.network/home