Sustainability and Carbon are important new considerations in selecting a textile, and Maxwell Rodgers delivers BIG TIME on both.
Wool has inherent environmental advantages. The raw fibre itself has attributes that bring significant benefits to the planet. Wool is the most sustainable of fibres. A fleece weighs approx. 2kgs so each sheep produces enough wool every year for about 8-10 metres of fabric. Now that’s sustainability.
At the University of Durham in England, scientists demonstrated the more wool in a room, the cleaner the air. It has an inherent ability to neutralise those nasty volatile organic compounds (VOCs) given off plastics and synthetic fibres. Wool is naturally fire retardant. No chemicals are needed to bring it up to most codes.
And it all starts Right HERE in a typical New Zealand farm
Our mid micron wools are sourced from farms like Palliser Ridge in the Wairarapa, on the southern part of the North Island of New Zealand. Their objective is to farm in a manner that meets the highest ethical and welfare standards.
In 2019 they won the Balance Farm Supreme Award for Environmental Standards for the greater Wellington Region. A farm of 1500 hectares with 6000 sheep and around 9000 lambs in September.
In total, Palliser Ridge produces 40000 kgs of wool a year (100000lbs).
Their animals are farmed ethically and professionally – with accreditation to the Responsible Wool Standard, a globally recognised certification monitoring land and animal welfare.
They are part of Wools of New Zealand's integrity program focused on soil health, weed and pest eradication, shelter, and conservation, particularly around waterways.
Or from farms in the stunning South Island of New Zealand like the one at Danseys Pass, who farm 10000 sheep growing mid micron Wool.
Theirs is a great animal welfare story – they blade shear the sheep once a year with hand clippers – as that leaves more wool on the sheep's back going into the winter months.
The process of removing the wool from the sheep's back is done either once or twice a year - often driven by climate considerations and what is best for the animal going into the winter months. Most farms in the more temperate climate zones use electric clippers.
New Zealand shearers typically use the Godfrey Bowen technique where the sheep is positioned to keep still through the 2-3 minute process.
While the fleece has value, it's as much about animal husbandry and keeping the animal health as it is about the fleece itself.
The raw wool then comes HERE to WOOLWORKS.
Woolworks scour all the New Zealand Wool that are used in a Maxwell Rodgers fabric. Scouring removes the seed and grease from the wool and is the first process after shearing. Historically this process was hostile to the environment, but Woolwork's operations focus on sustainability. Their ethos is to live and work in an environment that is in harmony with nature.
Scouring uses a significant amount of water. In the
past scows were located adjacent to rivers and the
waste was discharged directly back into them.
At a Woolworks scour, the water is processed and reused, and this is monitored continuously. Similarly, with heating and the use of renewable energy. Dry waste such as seed matter is recycled into fertiliser.
Woolworks are also accredited to the Responsible Wool Standard. All wools are fully traceable to the farm where it was grown.
From the scour the Wool is sent to Taita near Wellington where the Wool is spun into yarn by Woolyarns. There are significant regulatory requirements that Woolyarns exceed, particularly when it comes to water and all wastewater is treated to a level that it is able to be returned to the aquifer.
The weaving plant at Mt Wellington in Auckland, Interweave, is New Zealand owned and it too has strict regulatory requirements which are audited on a regular basis. Interweave has Enviro Mark diamond accreditation.
The factories that process our Wool from the sheep’s back to the final product employ over 300 Kiwis and that’s so so good for the economy.
This is more good news for the environment. Wool will deteriorate in a landfill – but there are also other options.
Our throws can be donated to a homeless shelter as there is ample life left in them. And similarly, our upholstery fabrics can be used by third parties once they are no longer appropriate to the original use.
The environmental benefits are obvious – the wool does not leave our shores – and is processed in world-leading facilities with an exemplary record of sustainable processing practices.
Looking after the Planet as we deliver world-class textiles.