Wool is not vegan. There are a number of great sustainable plant based vegan-friendly wools that you can use for knitting, crocheting, weaving and much more.
Vegan Wool Alternatives
Vegan wool /yarn is composed of animal-friendly organic fibers but also consider biodegradable, and the amount of chemicals are needed for processing and the impact on the environment. I hope this list of vegan wool will help you choose yarn.
Bamboo / Bamboo linen – Pulp of the bamboo plant. soft and lightweight. Bamboo is a type of grass that grows rapidly and high up on the eco-friendliness scale but this is not always true, understand what to look for.
Types of Bamboo Wool
Bamboo wool can be created mechanically or chemically which are extremely different:
Mechanically-processed – Bamboo linen (or bast fiber) made using the same process as hemp and flax.
Dew-retting is slower process, uses far less energy and water.
Look for organic option or dew-retting.
Chemically-processed – Dissolving fibers in a chemical mixture. The same process used to make viscose/rayon. Extremely toxic
Tencel /Monocel – Natural sustainable organic material, made from wood chips, beech and eucalyptus trees. FSC certified from natural thinning of forests and a by product from timber production.
These type of bamboo wool uses Lyocell process, a form of rayon but fewer toxic chemicals and has almost no waste byproducts.
Comments from the Federal trade commission USA:
When bamboo has been chemically processed into rayon and similar fabrics, there’s no trace of the original plant left. If your goal was to buy something eco-friendly, those toxic chemicals and the rayon fabric they produced are probably not what you had in mind.
Note: More sustainable than cotton depending on how it is processed.
Note: Avoid chemically-processed Bamboo
Note: Synthetic bamboo labeled as rayon / viscose
Other Vegan Wools
Hemp – One of the oldest fabrics
Cotton – Sadly cotton requires a large amount of water to produce along with pesticides, insecticides. Chose organic so minimally processed
Flax / Linen – Can grow in poor soil, using far less water than cotton. Linen is fabric from the fibers of the flax plant stem.
The more linen used the softer it gets.
Jute – Entirely bio-degradable and compostable and can be grown without pesticide or fertiliser
Soy – Created from leftovers of tofu production
Banana Silk / Banana Skin Fibres – Spun from the banana or abaca plant.
Raffia – 100% paper
Seaweed – Made with algae from the sea
Recycled – Recycled plastic bottles, recycled cotton
Chemical and Environment Issues
BEWARE: Vegan wool can be bad from the environment and chemicals.
Acrylic – Man-made fiber and vegan but it is created from polymers created from petroleum products i.e. crude oil.
Rayon – Natural & Man-Made. Made from pulping cellulose of wood but environmental concerns with the toxic chemicals.
Chemically-processed Bamboo – Chemically processed using carbon disulfide which is extremely toxic.