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The world's first LCA applied on recycled wool fibers

As climate change is concerned, 1 kg of MWool® has a carbon footprint of 0.1–0.9 kg CO2 eq., while producing virgin wool fibers releases 10–103 kg CO2 eq.

Textile industries are in the spotlight due to the heavy environmental impacts along their products’ life cycle and, at the same time, they are a priority sector in the new circular economy action plan of the European Commission. In this framework, we have developed a value chain based on the recycling of pre- and post-consumer discarded textiles, which output is a secondary wool fiber named MWool®. After years of assessments and in-depth studies, we managed to achieve a certified Life Cycle Assessment calculation for our MWool® fibers and fabrics. Our study, in collaboration with the prestigious Politenico di Torino, develops an environmental analysis of recycled wool fibers through the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology. A parallel LCA is developed for virgin wool fibers too, in order to obtain a data-based comparison. Deep analyses have been carried out to capture the uncertainty associated with virgin fibers’ impacts and to evaluate how MWool® impacts vary according to the origin and treatment of recycled textiles. Finally, the Circular Footprint Formula (CFF) has been applied to consider also a possible decay in quality typically affecting recycled fibers, and it emerges that recycled wool fibers can save about 60% of the impacts of virgin fibers. . Results show that recycled wool fibers have significantly lower environmental impacts than virgin fibers, even when the most unfavorable scenarios are considered. 

A comprehensive study that's been approved by the scientific community

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The complexity of the recycling route, and in turn the environmental impacts associated to collecting, processing and transporting waste wool throughout continents, are captured in a fairly comprehensive LCA model based on industry data and transparent assumptions to fill data gaps. Despite the long transportation routes and several manual or mechanical processes, including use of chemicals, wastewater treatment etc., the LCA results clearly show that MWool® has significantly lower environmental impacts in comparison to virgin wool fibres. For all the lifecycle indicators used in the assessment, following UNI EN ISO 14040, UNI EN ISO 14044 and UNI EN ISO 14025 regulations, the environmental impacts of MWool® is less than 10% of the virgin counterpart, and less than 1% of the carbon footprint, particulate matter, acidification, terrestrial and freshwater eutrophication, freshwater ecotoxicity, land use, water use. Everything has been assessed with the Life Cycle Impact Assessment method EF 3.0, in line with the PEF and the Made Green in Italy guidelines.

MWool® yarns' low impacts were also calculated and certified according to the international EPD® scheme

MWool® yarns' low impacts were also calculated and certified according to the international EPD® scheme

EPD® is a certified Environmental Product Declaration, which trasparently reports environmental data over the life cycle of products in accordance with the international standard ISO 14025. MWool® yarns are the first-ever recycled wool yarns to obtain this certification and, since May 27th, 2022, it is available here. Why is the EPD® so important? Because it is based on the international ISO standards, assuring international use, acceptability and continuity; it is based on scientific principles for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and approved through independent verification; it is based on specific rules for different product groups (PCR) ensuring that EPDs within the same category of products are calculated and presented in the same way; it provides a tool for communicating additional information such as social responsibility, quality control and environmental management.

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