Recycled Wool Blankets: How It’s Made

How Our Recycled Wool Blankets Are Made

We have been in the textile recycling business for 30 years. Something which has really bothered us was the amount of waste which is created by clothing around the world. Over the past 12 months we have been thinking of ways to utilize ALL of the clothing we buy and have embarked on an experimental new venture which is producing yarn from used woollen clothing and weaving the yarn into sustainable recycled wool blankets.

The whole process is carried out within a few mile radius of our warehouse in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, birthplace or the shoddy and mungo trade. That is from the procurement of the post consumer woollen knitwear to the end product of weaving yarn ready to be woven into cloth, blankets, scarves etc

Here is the story of the entire process from start to finish. 

Step 1: Unloading The Bales Off The Truck

We buy large bales of post consumer mixed woollen clothing which is at the end of its life cycle as clothing from a local textile sorting company in Yorkshire. Here are two bales being taken into the mill ready for grading.

unloading bales of wool clothing for recycling

Step 2: Delving Into The Unknown

The bales weigh between 250-350 kg and are packed under extreme pressure. We cut into them using great caution and put the plastic straps to one side to be recycled. 

opening a bale of used wool clothing

Step 3: The Wool Mountain

We then open the bales and are exposed to a wall of woollen knits. Virtually every type of woollen sweater you can think of – Aran, Shetland, Lambswool, Merino wool, Wool mix and Cashmere mixes. Everything is unable to be re-worn due to holes, tears or due to being washed up. Ordinarily this would have travelled halfway around the world to India or Pakistan for reprocessing but by keeping the recycling process here in the UK this eliminates the carbon footprint caused by transport emissions. It also creates jobs locally here in Yorkshire. 

a compressed bale a wool clothing

Step 4: Grading and Sorting To Recycle The Colour

The knitwear is then sorted into different shades to recycle the colour along with the fibre, which means we avoid adding chemicals to dye the material and also eliminate using thousands of gallons of water which is normally used in the dyeing process. Absolutely no dyeing is used in the process of manufacturing our blankets.

graded used wool clothing ready to be made into recycled wool blankets

Step 5: The Shredding and Pulling 

The knitwear is then shredded and pulled back into a semi-fibrous condition ready for blending. It is then blended with 20% new wool which gives the fibre more length. Here is a before and after picture of the clothing going into the shredding machine and the post product.

used clothing been shredded for recycling
pulverised recycled wool to be made into blankets

Step 6: Blending, Carding and Spinning The Yarn

It is then taken to a local mill where it is carded and spun back into yarn ready for weaving. Our recycled yarn is then ready to be woven into blankets, cloth, scarves and shawls.

Step 7: The Final Product 

Our range of recycled wool blankets come in a variety of earthy, natural and vibrant colours all with a distinct herringbone style knit. 

The blankets are versatile, warm and extremely comfortable to lay on. They can be used as a throw to add a splash of style to your living room or bedroom or they would make the perfect accessory for a family garden picnic.  

4 thoughts on “Recycled Wool Blankets: How It’s Made

  1. Catherine Killey says:

    A very interesting and informative read. Good to see a company re using wool and producing a lovely end product.

    • James says:

      Hello Ramona, The wool is very soft against the skin but it depends on how sensitive your skin is to wool. The recycled wool blankets with a ‘raised finish’ are especially soft and gentle.

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