An international team of scientists has come up with a method to make wool carpets from all-natural materials that can be re-processed after a life cycle.
Most carpets are biodegradable but they are glued together using latex. When carpets are thrown away, they end up in an oven to burn for extra energy in other industries or they go to the local dump.
There is a new project that is being funded by the Dutch Government called Erutan or “nature” spelled backwards. Their slogan is “It’s a natural solution – sheep eat grass, from the sheep, we get wool, and from the wool we make a carpet with natural ingredients.” The researchers decided to replace all synthetic substances and chemicals with organic materials, enzymes and polymers. The adhesive is based on natural compounds such as lignin or tannic acid.
It is a joint venture of three Dutch companies – James, Best Wool Carpets, and Bond Textile Research, working in cooperation with three technology developers – Research Institute TNO in the Netherlands, Technical University of Graz in Austria (TUG) and Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Spain (UPC).
They have managed to create an all natural carpet that looks and feels like any carpet that is on the current market. There is no latex involved so when the carpet reaches it end of life, it can be re-cycled to a type of fertilizer for agricultural uses.
The team are hoping their carpets will revolutionize the industry.
But the scientists did not want to stop at changing basic ingredients – they decided to make all other processes associated with manufacturing eco-friendly as well.
For instance, the researchers from Technical University of Graz in Austria came up with a way to wash dirty, greasy raw wool from New Zealand sheep without any detergents, salt or any other chemicals.
They clean it with enzymes. With enzymes in washing powders everything has gotten faster, you use less water, it’s much better for the environment and those enzymes come from nature.
As for color, they are using natural ingredients versus the synthetic dyes that are currently used.
As for availability, it is not clear. Will keep you posted.