Many people do not fully understand the numerous environmental benefits of alpaca yarn. This naturally amazing wool is incredibly advantageous for many reasons. Alpaca coats are shorn once a year, so there is no harm done to the animal whatsoever. In terms of environmental impact, alpaca farming is one of the least destructive forms of animal agriculture around the globe.
These naturally kind and curious creatures have another surprising benefit: they make great watch-alpacas! Farmers love them for keeping nearby predators from preying on the other livestock using their keen sense of sight, alerting the other animals, and intimidating the predators.
Aside from their usefulness on the farm, alpacas are equipped with 3 stomachs and emit far less methane than any other form of livestock. This is incredibly important with an estimated 14% of all greenhouse gases originating in livestock. With a diet consisting mostly of grass, leaves and bark, there is little environmental impact on producing the food that they eat as well. They even have padded hooves, reducing trampling damage to the ground-cover beneath them. As alpacas are a relatively inexpensive form of livestock, farming them is economically viable for the ranchers themselves, adding to the overall sustainability of alpaca fur farming as a practice. With the environment at such a critical point, alpaca wool is the natural choice
Alpaca farming is also more efficient for yet another reason: you don't need to dye it. Alpacas come in up to 22 different colours, unlike sheep, so dying the wool is rendered unnecessary. This may seem like a small benefit, but the environmental impacts of bleaching and dying sheep wool are serious. Consequences include the death of aquatic life through the releasing and leaching of chemicals into the water systems, so clearly, natural colours are the way to go.
Alright, so alpaca fur farming is really great, we get it, but is the wool up to snuff?
Wool made from alpaca fur is some of the finest quality material that exists today. While it is many times stronger than sheep wool, it only weighs roughly a third. Baby alpaca fur is as soft as cashmere and far more durable. So it is stronger, lighter, and softer than sheep wool, how could it get any better? Well, alpaca wool also naturally contains no lanolin making it the perfect choice for those who have steered clear of sheep wool in the past due to sensitive skin or allergies. Not only is it hypoallergenic, but it is actually anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and dust-mite resistant, These qualities mean this incredible fibre is perfect for bedding applications as well as fashion.
With proper maintenance, alpaca wool will not shrink, and it will not pill. On top of all of this, it is not only a more natural water-resistant material than other knitted wools but will also keep the heat off you in summer. So here we have this great useful material, and all we have done is shear it off the animal. As the saying goes, "If it isn't broken, don't fix it."
Wait, if it's so durable, won't it take a long time to break down when I'm done with it?
Well, no, actually. Alpaca fur fibres are a completely biodegradable fibre, so they simply break down and become fertilizer once you've outgrown your favourite scarf. Another absolutely critical piece of the lifespan of a textile, and it's the environmental impact. The fabric and textile industry is one of the worst offenders against the environment, with an estimated 5% of all landfill waste belonging solely to this industry. As long as people need to keep warm or covered, this problem is not going to go away, so, solutions like alpaca fur at this time in the world, are, incredibly valuable. For a world afflicted by complex industrial problems, simple natural solutions are the only clear path to a healthy planet, and rarely is a solution so complete and so natural. So obvious. At the end of the day, however, it all comes down to the choices of individuals. Hopefully, more consumers will consider making alpaca wool their go-to material for quality, and natural sustainability