What makes wool organic?
A summary of the Vermont Organic Fiber Co.'s organic wool processing practices and standards:
-All organic wool must be handled separately from non-organic to avoid contamination.
Modules or containers of organic agriculture fibers shall be segregated from conventional fiber to prevent any potential for commingling or environmental contamination during all stages of handling. Handlers designate a specific area for storage.
-Detergents for wool scouring are readily biodegradable and there is appropriate treatment of waste water.
Scouring of wool and animal fibers use detergents and degreasers that are readily biodegradable. Waste water from such operations must either be treated on site to conform to all federal, local and state environmental regulations for disposal of effluent or to be disposed in a municipal wastewater treatment facility.
Water sources must be sustainable, and all water released back into the water supply must meet pollution prevention levels.
-Combining and carding machinery must be cleaned of non-organic fiber prior to the processing of the organic fiber.
-Module feeding, suction feeding systems and initial conveyors, wool and other livestock scouring trains and basins must be cleaned physically or mechanically to remove any residue or trash prior to loading or feeding modules or container units of organic fiber into cleaning or processing system.
Oils used in spinning shall be of vegetable or animal origin. The use of synthetic oils is prohibited.
Processors also won't use synthetic textile oils, synthetic waxes, silicone or solvent-based surfactants.
-All dyes must conform to the Ecological and Toxicological Association of Dyes and Organic Pigments Manufacturers' guidance documents regarding residuals of heavy metals and aromatic amines found in finished products.
Allowable dyes include natural dyes, low-impact dyes, azo dyes that comply with ETAD standards and those which are free of heavy metals.
-Only materials that are recyclable or readily biodegradable can be used in fabric-finishing. Traditional methods of cleaning wool and other animal fibers by carbonizing fibers using acid baths are prohibited.
All facilities that process organic fiber products practice structural pest management techniques that stress sanitation, exclusion and prevention of pests, and nontoxic forms of remediation whenever possible.