Soil Nutrients from Wool
An “Interreg-europe” project has developed activities for the re-use of remaining coarse wool from sheep farming, which resulted unserviceable for further textile application. Wool residuals are converted into soil conditioner fertilizers using small-scale, local hydrolysis plants. Heated water treatments convert wool keratin into fertilizers. Sheep wool has elements beneficial to plants like azote and carbons; moreover, its capacity to absorb humidity is important to those soils less able to store water.
The activity fosters collaboration amongst several and different actors such as research centers, manufacturing companies, local farmers and companies producing organic fertilizers and soil/plant amendments.
The organic fertilizers produced from wool contributes to reuse a considerable amount of waste (200.000 tons of coarse wool generated in the EU every year). The process requires the establishment of small scale, local hydrolysis plants.
The practice is delivering a number of benefits and new opportunities for practitioners:
• Reduced transportation costs of both fertilizers and wool waste
• Better control of the coarse wool waste
• More integrated environmental management
• Elimination of transportation costs and environmental damages related to coarse disposal
• Production of fertilizers for the processing companies without supplement of dangerous chemicals
• Better management of the coarse produced by farmers, with the possibility of additional profit generation