Wool carpets can be recycled at the end of their useful life in a number of interesting ways. Wool carpets are naturally durable so they can be re-formed and re-used as decorative area rugs. Wool pile from old carpets, along with waste wool from the manufacturing process, can be used in environmentally-friendly insulation products. Discarded wool carpet can be cut into strips and used to protect newly planted trees and to prevent erosion and soil loss. The slow breakdown of wool provides rich nutrients and mulch to nourish the saplings and promote faster growth.
Under the right conditions, wool is totally biodegradable. Wool is made up of natural amino acid chains, which are often referred to as “the building blocks of life”. As wool bio-degrades, rich, essential plant nutrients are released such as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous. Even if a wool carpet is placed in landfill, it will decompose leaving no harmful residues.
Wool is the ultimate renewable fiber – it grows continuously on a sheep’s back all year round. During summer, the wool from New Zealand sheep is removed (sheared) by skilled craftsmen and the sheep return to their pasture. At the end of its useful life, the pile from wool carpet can be returned to the ground, where the nutrients released as it decomposes promote further grass growth, and the natural production cycle starts all over again.