School students in a small Central Otago town are learning first-hand about some of the environmental benefits of wool compared to synthetic fibre, which is easier to describe as plastic fibre in today’s world.
Thanks to a challenge put to St Johns School, Ranfurly in 2018 by PGG Wrightson Wool representative Graeme Bell whilst he was there assisting with the educational resource known as “The Wool Shed”, he laid down the challenge to the school to bury two jerseys as an experiment, one jersey being 100% wool, the second being a typical synthetic polar fleece school jersey. The experiment was to see what they would look like once they were dug up 2 years later.
In December 2020 at the schools year 8 graduation day, the same students dug up the two items and the wool jersey whilst had not disintegrated yet it was clear for all to see that the biodegradation process had begun.
Unsurprisingly, the polar fleece was unaffected by 2 years in the ground. “The cotton school logo had gone, but apart from that you could give it a good shake and a wash and it would be good to wear again” says Graeme.
The kids are witnessing first-hand the natural biodegradable properties of wool and cotton fibres.
Graeme’s idea for the challenge was brought about by a similar exercise performed by HRH Prince of Wales who is the global patron for the Campaign for Wool. Prince Charles has buried several jerseys over the years to help promote some of the benefits of wool and you can read more about his activities here.
St Johns School teacher, Geraldine Duncan said that performing this experiment was a great idea and had created a great level of interest from the children. “We hope that the seed it has planted in their young minds will help their environmental consciousness as they grow into responsible young men and women. We are aiming to dig the jerseys up again at the end of 2021” said Geraldine.
The portable “Wool Shed” is part of the Wool in Schools programme promoted by the “Campaign for Wool” and proudly sponsored by PGG Wrightson Wool. Schools can book the container free of charge.
Learn more about the benefits of wool here.