We use recycled wool to extend the life span of a valuable fiber that has already been produced.
Wool is a natural fiber that insulates, breathes and lasts for a long time. Producing wool, however, is resource-intensive. It requires vast amounts of land for grazing sheep, water to clean the fiber, chemicals to treat the wool and dyes to color the finished product. We use recycled wool to extend the useful life of fiber that has already been produced. As a result, we can make clothing with the same great qualities as virgin wool at a fraction of the environmental cost.
We’re making progress
Recycled wool has been used in European textiles for hundreds of years. We get our recycled wool from both post-industrial sources, such as factory scraps, and postconsumer ones, such as returned garments. After we collect the wool, we sort it by color and mechanically shred the fibers so they can be re-spun into new yarn. Most of our recycled wool is blended with recycled polyester to increase the strength of the yarn and the durability of the fabric. Over the years, we’ve used more and more recycled wool, but since recycled wool yarn blends are not as fine as virgin wool yarns, that limits the types of products we can offer.
Recycled wool isn’t only in yarn. The Italian company Cashpad makes insulation material from recycled wool and cashmere similar to insulation you'd find in our Nano Puff® styles. In our Fall line, we use this warm wool insulation in our Women’s Seldom Traveled Jacket.
For the Spring 2023 season, 9% of our wool products are made with recycled wool. Compared to using virgin wool, we kept more than 39,000 pounds of CO₂e from being emitted into the atmosphere.
We will continue to use recycled wool in our fleece styles and knits. In addition to offering more recycled wool products, our goal is to further support recyclers so we can expand on the types of recycled wool products we create.