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Great to see Cavalier Bremworth ditching the production of synthetic carpet over the next 12 months and focusing only on wool and other natural fibres.

This is purely in response to the dangers of plastic – the average home with synthetic carpet has the equivalent of 22,000 plastic bags on the floor. A very brave move on their part though, given it means a total reset of the business but a clear statement of intent. They expect it to begin paying off from 2023.

The recently released Wool Industry Project Action Group (PAG) report says that natural fibres were “on the cusp of a renaissance”. And why shouldn’t it be. Wool is called “natures miracle fibre” because it:

  • breathes and has hyper allergenic properties
  • absorbs odour – carpet and clothing
  • traps water – has incredible thermal properties
  • is fire resistant (houses with synthetic carpet melt and literally go up in smoke)

There is concern wool doesn’t wear as well as synthetic and you really can’t tell the difference between the two now, but you would have thought there’d be enough environmentally conscious people around supporting it.

Fact is, 80% of carpets purchased are synthetic. And polyester, nylon, acrylic, and other synthetic fibers, (forms of plastic) comprise approx. 60 percent of the material that makes up our clothes worldwide.

Problem is synthetics are cheaper sand wool is no longer a major income earner on both sides of the Tasman. In NZ wool has fallen 41% since 1990, while costs have increased. It’s predicted to decline further.

Carpet is a major purchase and wool can be twice the price, whilst synthetic clothing is dirt cheap and dropping further So whilst there’s lots of companies doing great things in specialist areas – IceBreaker and Allbirds – wool needs to become more mainstream to suck up higher volumes at higher prices and return value to the industry, especially farmers.

Let’s hope the renaissance does happen.

Tracta | Champions of Agribusiness - Rural Specialist

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