WOOLUME: Mapping the market for acoustic and sound absorbing products made of wool

Anna Schytte Sigaard og Vilde Haugrønning

Sammendrag

Denne rapporten er første leveranse fra arbeidspakke 2 i WOOLUME-prosjektet. Hovedmålet med WOOLUME er å
utforske ulike måter å bruke ull fra polske fjellsau for å oppnå bedre utnyttelse av ressurser og økt verdiskaping. Målet
med rapporten har vært å kartlegge markedet for akustiske og lydabsorberende produkter laget av ull for å undersøke
potensialet for å innføre grov ull som materiale. Dette er gjort gjennom skrivebordsundersøkelser og intervjuer med
fokus på ullens egenskaper som et naturlig produkt. Funnene viser at selv om menneskeskapte materialer som
polyester dominerer på markedet for akustiske produkter på grunn av lavere priser, foretrekkes ull som materiale på
grunn av dets naturlige egenskaper i tillegg til det estetiske. Produsenter som bruker ull anser produktene sine som
eksklusive, hvor målgruppen er kunder som ønsker produkter av god kvalitet og som er villige til å betale en høyere
pris for å oppnå dette. Imidlertid er det få produsenter som bruker grov ull i disse produktene, og mange er laget av ren
merinoull. Bruk av merinoull som ofte anses å være av svært fin kvalitet på grunn av det lave mikronantallet samsvarer
ikke med idealet om god ressursutnyttelse. Derfor foreslår vi å bruke grov ull som i dag bare blir kastet som biprodukt
til kjøttproduksjon. Merino kan i stedet brukes til produkter der finhet og mykhet er viktigere egenskaper, som for
eksempel i klær. I tillegg argumenterer vi for at råheten og unikheten ved grov ull er positivt med tanke på estetikk og
noe som styrker posisjonen til ullakustiske produkter som eksklusive.

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Environmental impacts associated with the production, use, and end-of-life of a woollen garment

S.G. Wiedemann, L. Biggs, B. Nebel, K. Bauch, K. Laitala, I.G. Klepp, P.G. Swan and K. Watson.

Abstract

Purpose

The textiles industry is a substantial contributor to environmental impacts through the production, processing, use, and end-of-life of garments. Wool is a high value, natural, and renewable fibre that is used to produce a wide range of garments, from active leisure wear to formal wear, and represents a small segment of the global fashion industry. Woollen garments are produced by long, global value chains extending from the production of ‘greasy’ wool on sheep farms, through processing to garment make-up, retail, consumer use, and end-of-life. To date, there have been limited life cycle assessment (LCA) studies on the environmental impacts of the full supply chain or use phase of garments, with the majority of wool LCA studies focusing on a segment of the supply chain. This study aimed to address this knowledge gap via a cradle-to-grave LCA of a woollen garment.

Methods

This study investigated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, fossil fuel energy, and water stress associated with the production, use, and end-of-life of a lightweight woollen sweater (300-g wool), together with inventory results for freshwater consumption and land occupation. Primary datasets were used for the wool production and wool processing stages, while primary datasets relating to consumer garment use were supplemented with literature data. Impacts were calculated and reported per garment wear event.

Results and discussion

Impacts per wear were 0.17 (± 0.02) kg CO2-e GHG, 0.88 (± 0.18) MJ fossil energy, and 0.96 (± 0.42) H2O-e water stress. Fossil fuel energy was dominated by wool processing, with substantial contributions of energy also arising from retail and garment care. Greenhouse gas emissions from wool production (farming) contributed the highest proportion of impacts, followed by lower contributions from processing and garment care. Contributions to water stress varied less across the supply chain, with major contributions arising from production, processing, and garment use.

Conclusions

Opportunities to improve the efficiency of production, processing, and garment care exist, which could also reduce resource use and impacts from wool. However, the number of garment wear events and length of garment lifetime was found to be the most influential factor in determining garment impacts. This indicated that consumers have the largest capacity to influence the sustainability of their woollen garments by maximising the active garment lifespan which will reduce overall impacts.

Click here to read the full article (springer.com).

KRUS final report: Enhancing local value chainsin Norway

Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Tone Skårdal Tobiasson, Vilde Haugrønning, Gunnar Vittersø, Lise Grøva, Torhild Kvingedal, Ingvild Espelien & Elin Kubberød

From its initiation in 2015 to the end in 2019, KRUS had two goals: to improve the market for and the value of Norwegian wool, and survey the opportunities for local production in a move towards a goal of sustainability in the fashion sector. On a larger scale, KRUS has looked at how we can re-establish an understanding of the connection between the raw material and the finished product within the textile industry and among consumers. It is critical to understand this connection, both to ensure quality products and to reach the market potential for Norwegian wool.

To restore the understanding of “where clothes come from” is also at the heart of challenges currently facing the textile industry. The consumption and production of textiles faces major challenges and changes in the future. Today the industry is characterized by low control and little knowledge, while growth in quantity, environmental impact, as well as stress on animals and humans is high. KRUS has contributed to the debate on sustainable clothing by focusing on local value-chains and locally produced apparel.

The focus on Norwegian wool and the specific qualities of the different breeds has played an essential role for Norwegian textile tradition and dress culture, and a better understanding of this has been essential to the project. An important challenge for Norwegian wool is that it has not been marketed with any kind of label of origin. Private actors have thus entered the field and developed their own private labels for Norwegian wool. In addition, there are few products on the market containing Norwegian wool beyond hand-knitting yarn, which means that availability has been limited.

Throughout the project, we have seen a shift, especially for older sheep breeds, which have posed a special challenge. Their wool is central in keeping Norwegian handicrafts alive, but the quality on some of the wool types has been declining. For others, the challenge is that much of the wool is not taken care of, and constitutes a waste problem. Through breeding-projects, work collaboration, looking closely at labelling systems and business models, KRUS has addressed these challenges.

Click here to read the full report (oda.oslomet.no)

Use phase of apparel: A Literature review for Life Cycle Assessment with focus on wool.

Kirsi Laitala, Ingun Grimstad Klepp & Beverley Henry

Summary

This report presents a literature review of clothing use phase. The purpose is to support improved methodological development for accounting for the use phase in Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of apparel. All relevant textile fibres are included in the review. However, the main focus is on wool. We ask whether the use of wool has different environmental impacts than clothes in other fibres. The report builds on a review of literature from the past 20 years. The review showed that clothing made from different materials are used, and reused in different ways. Wool is washed differently as it has about ten degrees lower washing temperature than the average laundry in Europe. Wool is also more likely to be either dry-cleaned or washed by hand than other textiles. Moreover, when dried, it is less likely to be tumble-dried.

When comparing the number of days between the washes of different types of clothes, we found that respondents were likely to use their woollen products about twice as long between washes compared to their equivalent cotton products. We also found that woollen products had a longer average lifespan and were more likely to be reused or recycled. There is a lot of research-based information available concerning the use and re-use of clothing, and we believe there are sufficient results available on which to base LCA studies. Furthermore, we believe that environmental tools that compare different fibres but exclude use phase provide misleading results. Including the use phase in fibre ranking benchmark tools will improve the rigour and accuracy of these tools for all fibres, compared to reporting results for fibre production only. However, we have also shown that there are several methodological, conceptual and empirical knowledge gaps in existing literature.

Click here to read the full report (researchgate.net)

Opprinnelsesmerking av norsk ull

Gunnar Vittersø, Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Tone Skårdal Tobiasson og Kjersti Kviseth

Sammendrag

Hensikten med denne rapporten er å undersøke mulighetene for en opprinnelsesmerking av norsk ull. Et slikt merke kan bidra til økt bevissthet og oppmerksomhet om norsk ull både blant produsenter og forbrukere, og dermed styrke produksjon og salg av lokal ull. Rapporten diskuterer en rekke argumenter for en merkeordning. Blant annet at et offisielt merke kan være et hjelpemiddel mot en til dels uryddig markedsføring av ull som vi ser i dag. Dessuten kan det fremme ulike kvaliteter ved norsk ull.

Rapporten bygger på ulike data inkludert intervjuer med aktører i verdikjeden og forbrukerundersøkelser. Erfaringer med merkeordninger fra andre land samt ulike mat-og miljømerkeordninger er også diskutert. Rapporten kan fungere som et kunnskapsgrunnlag for en eventuell etablering av en merkeordning, og den utreder ulike alternative ordninger, men uten å ta stilling til hvordan en merkeordning faktisk bør organiseres.

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Summary

The purpose of this report is to examine the possibilities of a labelling scheme for origin of Norwegian wool. A label can help to raise awareness about Norwegian wool among both producers and consumers, thus strengthening production and sales of local wool. Norwegian wool has many properties that seen both from a quality and environmental perspective are favorable. A labelling scheme could also contribute to a more trustworthy marketing of wool. The report builds on diverse data such as interviews with stakeholders in the value chain as well as consumer surveys. Experiences with labelling schemes from other countries as well as different food and environmental labelling schemes are also discussed. The report serves as a knowledge base for the potential establishment of a new labelling scheme. It investigates various alternative arrangements without taking a definite stand on how a labelling scheme actually should be organized.

The full report is only available in Norwegian.

Wool as an Heirloom: How Natural Fibres Can Reinvent Value in Terms of Money, Life-Span and Love

Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Tone Skårdal Tobiasson & Kirsi Laitala

Abstract

This paper addresses a main challenge for natural fibres; falling prices and increased focus on quantity versus quality. This is a challenge not only related to economic issues and profit, but is also unsustainable in an environmental perspective and in light of the challenges the textile sector and the world face. The paper uses wool as an example and in a surprising approach links the history and century-old traditions of natural fibers to an environmental thinking which supplements the traditional thinking around circular economy and LCA. Fabrics with a long life are the ones that have the lowest environmental impact (Fletcher and Tham2015; Laitala2014). Longevity or lifespan is a complex phenomenon in which both technical and social, or aesthetic aspects, are intertwined.

Click here to see the full paper in the book Advances in Science and Technology Towards Industrial Applications (springer.com)

Wool you wear it? – woollen garments in Norway and the United Kingdom

Marie Hebrok, Ingun G. Klepp & Joanne Turney

Abstract

This article was developed from the project ‘Valuing Norwegian Wool’ initiated by the Norwegian National Institute for Consumer Research to generate knowledge on how wool can contribute to sustainable textile consumption, and how value creation can be increased in the Norwegian wool industry. The article will compare consumer perceptions, attitudes, practices and knowledge concerning wool as a material and as garments in Norway and in the United Kingdom, through a case study of wardrobes owned by six middle-class families.

The aim is to generate knowledge about the diverse web of aspects that influence consumption of woollen garments. The wardrobe study as a method aims to include the materiality of garments in clothes research in a more direct way. Analysing the materiality in connection with the social and cultural aspects of clothes gives us a better understanding of the relations between materiality and practice.

Click here to read the full article (southampton.ac.uk)

Why Cotton as Linen? The Use of Wool in Beds in Norway

Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Tone Skårdal Tobiasson & Kirsi Laitala

Abstract

Cotton is the “natural” choice and the dominating material in bed linen and sleepwear in Norway as in many other European countries. Regulation of temperature and humidity are important for good sleep, but they are not cotton’s strong points. There must have been other than the functional reasons which made cotton the winner in the bedding market. This article builds on literature about bedding in Norway from the 1800s and survey questions from 1951. We ask the question: what materials have been used and why? Wool was used in all bed textiles, both closest to the body and the layers over and under, from the cheapest chopped rags to the most costly textiles. The decline was seen throughout the 1800 and 1900s, but only in the 1960s does wool become totally absent as a next to skin bed textile. The cheap imports of cotton made cottage industry and home production unprofitable and the new emphasis on cleanliness gave cotton a clear leverage.

Click here to read the full article (tandfonline.com)

Valuing Norwegian Wool

Marie Hebrok, Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Tone S. Tobiasson, Kirsi Laitala, Marit Vestvik & Madeline Buck

Summary

Wool has been called the white gold and has warmed and brought joy to the Norwegian population throughout history. It is also a textile fibre with many unused features. The starting point of the project Valuing Norwegian Wool is a desire to help Norwegian agriculture, wool based industry, and design to exploit the potential inherent in Norwegian wool as raw material, and in the Norwegian textile tradition. Norway has a thriving textile industry and several strong companies that produce products made of wool. The marketing of the origin of the raw material these products are produced from is however rather inadequate and sometimes misleading. While fewer and fewer of the products are made of Norwegian wool, consumers -not without reason -take it for granted that Norwegian producers use Norwegian wool.

The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council and led by SIFO. The project partners include representatives from the entire value chain – from agricultural organizations, industry and commerce, and design and consumption. This report is one of many publications in the project and makes visible the challenges that exist in the value chain, but also the great potential that is there.

Click here to read the full report (oda.oslomet.no)

Potensiale for økt materialgjenvinning av tekstilavfall og andre avfallstyper (papir/papp, metall og glass)

Kirsi Laitala, Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Nick Morley, Torill Meistad, Adrian Chapman, Wenting Chen, Marie Hebrok, Johannes Daae & Marthe H. Austgulen

Sammendrag

Rapporten vurderer muligheter for økt materialgjenvinning av tekstilavfall i Norge. Mengden generert tekstilavfall i Norge er 24 kg på innbygger per år som hovedsakelig blir brent med energiutnyttelse. Det finnes lite materialgjenvinning av tekstiler i dag og kunnskapen om de miljømessige konsekvenser er begrenset. Innsamling av tekstiler for gjenbruk er derimot godt etablert og handelen med brukte klær en stor global næring. Produksjonen av tekstiler er svært forurensende,og dermed økt levetid og gjenbruk bidrar positivt gjennom å erstatte nye tekstiler. Forbrenning med energiutnyttelse reduserer energiforbruket med cirka 2-6%, mens gjenbruk reduserer med cirka 20-60% av forbruket gjennom tekstilers hele livsløp. Også for andre miljøparametere er gevinsten ved gjenbruk stor sammenlignet med energiutnyttelse.

I dag blir det eksportert 4,2 kg brukte tekstiler per innbygger samtidig som ca. 1/4 til 1/3 av det som blir kastet i restavfall kunne vært gjenbrukt. Analysen viser at det er samfunnsøkonomisk lønnsomt å kildesortere tekstiler som en ny avfallsfraksjon og selge dem videre for gjenbruk og materialgjenvinning. Dersom dette gjøres slik at tekstilenes verdi ikke blir forringet av fuktighet eller vond lukt vil utgiftene dekkes av de inntekter salget gir med dagens markedspriser. Dette gjelder selv om vi må regne med lavere kvalitet og dermed lavere andel til gjenbruk som følge av økende innsamlingsgrad. De er også positive miljøeffekter av det forslåtte tiltak i forhold CO2-utslipp, vannforbruk og kjemikaler. Effekten er først og fremst global. Tiltakene for å øke ombruk og materialgjenvinning er å legge til rette for innsamling av en ny avfallsfraksjon, samtidig som forskning, informasjon og holdningsskapende innen tekstiler og miljø mot forbrukere, store innkjøpere og tekstilbransjen styrkes.

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