It’s hard not to notice that many of us have been making more conscious purchasing choices in the last few years. We care more about where our goods are made, and we even put time and effort into considering how they are made. Most importantly, we’re sparing a thought for Mother Earth and how our product manufacturing processes have been impacting her.
Table of contents
With that in mind, even simple home décor upgrades might have you questioning your purchasing choices. If a new sheepskin rug has been on your must-have list, you might have more confidence to add it to your shopping cart when you learn just how environmentally friendly they really are.
It goes without saying that something natural has a better chance of breaking down safely in the environment than something made of plastic! In fact, plastic fabric breaks up in the environment, whereas natural sheepskin breaks down as organic matter.
When your sheepskin reaches the end of its functional life, which will likely be many, many years after you purchased it, you can return it to the earth, where it will deliver nutrients back into the soil.
How it biodegrades is truly quite remarkable. Wool contains a natural protein called keratin, which microorganisms already present in the soil break down. Depending on the characteristics of the wool, the climate, and the soil, you can expect your sheepskin rug to break down in as little as four months.
Warm, moist conditions can speed up the process, and if you keep the rug buried under the soil, bacteria and fungus can produce enzymes to digest the wool. However, you might not even need soil for sheepskin rugs to biodegrade. Studies have shown that wool can break down in seawater in just 450 days.
When you learn about sheepskin rug biodegradability, you might assume it’s not something you can enjoy in your home for years to come. While it might break down in the environment, it’s long-lasting in your home.
Keratin’s chemical structure provides a tough and water-repellent outer membrane. As a result, clean and dry wool fibres don’t easily degrade, and ‘normal’ conditions allow for incredible resilience.
You might also be surprised to learn that wool is stronger than steel, gram for gram. It’s the only unprocessed fibre that you can bend more than 20,000 times and still have it maintain its shape without ripping or breaking.
Less Energy to Produce Than Synthetic Rugs
With the abundance of synthetic rugs on the market, you might assume they take very little energy and effort to produce, but quite the opposite is true. Synthetic sheepskins and human-produced rugs are often petroleum-based and can require up to three times more energy to manufacture than natural sheepskin. As we all know, petroleum is also non-renewable and produces harmful emissions.
Eco-Friendly Tanning Methods
When you purchase sheepskin rugs from manufacturers and suppliers that care about the environment, you can rest assured that they have undergone eco-friendly tanning processes.
For example, Ecowool rugs undergo a four-step tanning process that involves no harmful or harsh chemicals like arsenic and formaldehyde. After being hand-selected, the rugs are washed, cleaned, processed in a salt/acid solution, and cured with an organic chrome-free white tanning solution.
Next, the lambskins undergo softening and conditioning with ecologically safe products before being protected with a sanitising barrier to protect against bacteria and odours. The final stage involves washing in natural essential oils to further protect against allergens and bacteria.
Only the very best sheepskin rugs from reputable suppliers will be tanned with tried and tested methods that have taken years to perfect.
It’s a Repurposed Byproduct
It’s easy to assume that sheep are raised for their wool, but quite the opposite is true. Sheepskin is a byproduct of the meat industry, which means it would otherwise go to waste. Instead of wasting such a beautiful natural product, manufacturers give it a new lease of life so that it can take pride of place in someone’s home for several generations.
Wool Removes Carbon From the Atmosphere
Many textiles and fibres we use today are from carbon-based products, but very few, like wool, come from atmospheric carbon. Up to half of the wool’s weight is made up of organic carbon, which comes from the plant material digested by sheep.
The plants capture carbon from the environment and use photosynthesis to transform it into organic compounds. Most of the carbon in freshly shorn wool has come from the atmosphere within the past two years.
Shop For a New Sheepskin Rug Today
Choosing any new décor from your home can be hard work, but a sheepskin rug is a no-brainer. When you learn just how eco-friendly they are compared to synthetic floor coverings, you’ll be even more convinced to add them to your shopping cart.