Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Woola

Replacing bubble wrap with wool-based packaging

Retail

The company has introduced a returns system to further reduce waste

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Spotted: A millennia-old fabric, wool remains popular worldwide. And as researchers delve deeper into its characteristics and capabilities, they are discovering new ways in which the material can be useful. Significant amounts of wool are discarded during production, and rather than burn or compost it, Estonian company Woola has identified an opportunity to turn wool waste into a valuable replacement for plastic. 

Woola has created sustainable, reusable, recyclable wool-based packaging as a means of eliminating the need for fossil-fuel-based bubble wrap. The company’s mission is to reduce by half the amount of bubble wrap used globally by 2030. Wool is soft, flexible, and naturally water- and temperature-resistant – all qualities that make it perfect for packaging fragile items. It is also extremely durable. 

Production of the packaging takes place in Estonia and is powered by renewable energy. The company works closely with local and regional farmers to provide them with an additional source of income, as most sheep farmers in the country raise the animals for meat rather than wool. By sourcing waste wool from Estonia, the company has also greatly reduced its transport costs and emissions.  

Woola packaging can be reused many times, and the company recently set up a pilot returns system with Estonian department store Kaubamaja. A returns box is available in stores in two locations, Tallinn and Tartu, and Woola would like to expand the returns option to all areas where its products are used. And as an alternative to returning the packaging, Woola provides a list of reuse suggestions on the company website. 

The versatility of wool is evidenced by the range of innovations spotted by Springwise that use the material, including sneakers and a completely traceable, zero-waste fabric.

Written By: Keely Khoury

Email: hi@woola.io

Website: woola.io

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