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THE NATURAL CARPET FIBRE FOR THE FUTURE
Richard Poole, European Business Manager of BWMB: “British Wool offers carpet manufacturers a fibre with great credentials: it is a fibre that is historically highly regarded by the industry and with its natural strengths and origins will be increasingly prominent in the carpets of the future.”
British Wool is recognised by the textile industry as having resilience and strength to withstand rigorous manufacturing processes and also footfall on the floor in areas of the home that get significant pressure of use.
This resilience is one reason why buyers and specifiers for the contract and hospitality industry choose it for public areas in hotels, offices, casinos and cruise liners. Specifications that require durability and safety make British Wool a good choice for the manufacturer. It is tough, bulky wool with a micron count that is perfect for carpet and the level of bounce-back from compression when compared to other wool types is significantly superior. Safety is also paramount for locations, which service large numbers of people in a confined space. British Wool offers both a slip free surface with a high level of natural low flammability.
This is a key selling point – wool meets many international fire regulation standards without the need for any treatment – consider the floor of a casino where the risk of fire is constant. Fire resistance is paramount and wool with its high moisture and nitrogen content has self-extinguishing properties and is very difficult to ignite. It does not melt or drip which prevents the release of toxic fumes, a major cause of death in fires.
The hair-like strands of wool with its tough outer coating encases a complex multi-cell structure comprising of over 20 amino acids, these form chains or polymers of protein. This formula enables a unique level of natural capabilities and strength, particularly as an environmentally friendly fibre.
As Europe and the wider world become more environmentally aware, the architect and interior design industry are clearly refocusing and are developing buildings and interiors with environmentally considerate materials and furnishing with eco-friendly products.
The ecological and ‘Green’ aspect of wool as a renewable, recyclable resource is attracting significant interest from manufacturers as the trend for natural fibres in the UK and USA is now rising rapidly. Several manufacturers in Europe are increasing their wool ranges to address this interest and also whilst the 80% wool, 20% nylon range has been a UK standard for many years, many manufacturers are now considering the growing interest in 100% wool ranges with natural jute backing.
Nylon was once considered to bring additional wear to the carpet but many manufacturers feel that 100% wool with all its natural qualities is not significantly improved by it. The advance of environmental issues is growing and many in the carpet trade feel that the 100% natural fibre carpet could be more attractive to the domestic and commercial consumer.
The British Wool Marketing Board (BWMB), which auctions 35 million kgs of British Wool annually in the UK is currently looking at the value of Life Cycle Analysis to the manufacturer.
Life Cycle Analysis will look closely at British Wool from the field to the floor and provide a measurable, scientific environmental status to the finished product with the backing of a reputable recognized international standard. Discussions with BWMB member organisations report that there is a potential requirement to give British Wool an ISO standard to show its ‘Green’ credibility. Initial discussions with manufacturers that are licensed to use the Shepherd’s Crook mark – the British Wool quality mark and also with merchants and yarn spinners are still at the early stages. “We want to find out what the industry thinks and what it actually wants. British Wool is a quality fibre and we want to be at the forefront of international eco-standards but equally this is something the industry itself must support.” commented Richard Poole, European Business manager at the BWMB.
Working closely with manufacturers is a key strength of the BWMB – valuable links across the global industry place its European representative Mr Poole in a prime position for assisting manufacturers with their enquiries regarding new British Wool ranges.
He commented, “British Wool offers carpet manufacturers a fibre with great credentials – it is a fibre that is historically highly regarded by the industry and with its natural strengths and origins will be increasingly prominent in the carpets of the future.”