Why wool is better than synthetic fibres

Wool Wellbeing Tip #1: Wool Clothing

It can be difficult to know if you are making environmentally-friendly choices when you are shopping for clothes, but one thing is clear – choosing natural fibres over synthetics can make a huge difference in protecting our soils, waterways and oceans.

Microplastic particles from synthetic clothing and textiles are widespread in aquatic and land-based ecosystems around the world and 35% of those in marine environments are fibres from synthetic clothing. During a recent survey, 44% of people asked did not realise that the synthetic fibres in their clothes (such as polyester, acrylic or nylon) are actually plastic.

Naturally (excuse the pun!), because we handcraft wool-filled bedding products, we regularly write about how wool is better than synthetic fibres because of its sustainability.  A sheep’s fleece continuously grows and so in the spring and summer needs to be sheared to relieve the sheep from its heavy winter coat. Wool also has temperature regulating properties, as well as a natural resistance to dust mites. But it doesn’t just stop there. When it comes to biodegradability, wool is a lot better for the planet than synthetic materials because it does not cause microplastic pollution.

So, it's not just about being better for us but also for our beautiful planet too – and we call this ‘wool wellbeing’! Recent studies have shown that wool readily biodegrades, releasing nutrients, and this is better for our soils and, ultimately, our marine environments.  

When you are next out and about, shopping for new wardrobe items, here are some things to bear in mind:

  • Check the labels: choose garments that are made from natural fibres or, at least, have a high percentage of natural fibres. Examples are wool, cotton, tencel, linen, bamboo and silk. Clothing made from synthetic (plastic) is listed as acrylic, polyester, polyamide, neoprene, nylon and orlon.
  • Wash and dry less: Don’t wash after every wear. If you have garments with a high percentage of synthetic fibres it sheds microplastic every time you wash it.
  • Wear your clothes for longer: Get good use out of your clothes. By increasing the average amount of ‘wears’ from 109 to 400 times you can reduce a garment’s environmental impact by 60%.

For further information about wool and sustainability, check out the British Wool website.


Ref: British Wool, Woolmark