CLEAN­ING UP WOOL'S IM­PACT

Element - - Primary Industry -

Like most com­mer­cial prod­ucts, wool is not with­out en­vi­ron­men­tal cost. The process of clean­ing or ‘scour­ing’ wool re­quires wash­ing in hot water and de­ter­gent, of­ten mixed with pes­ti­cide to kill any in­sect life, which can lead to con­tam­i­nated water run-off. A 2004 study pre­pared for the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Forestry found that NZ’S wool ex­porters could not guar­an­tee that wool sup­plied could meet the re­quire­ments of the most com­mon en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards in its mar­kets, and that scour ef­flu­ent dis­charge lev­els of pes­ti­cide may breach EU guide­lines. The boom in or­ganic wool pro­duc­tion and for­ward­think­ing scour­ing op­er­a­tors like New Zealand Wool Ser­vices In­ter­na­tional (WSI) are ad­dress­ing this is­sue. Both of WSI’S fa­cil­i­ties have En­vi­ron­men­tal Choice certiŽcation. As well, the Ka­pu­tone plant has been certiŽed with Asurequal­ity, and is the only fa­cil­ity in New Zealand to scour wool to the Euro­pean – ECO­LA­BEL stan­dards.

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