Why is Alpaca Wool better?
Discover why Alpaca Wool is more sustainable
Of course, your average sheep wool is natural and biodegradable - we will not argue with that, however, once discovering the benefits and softness of alpaca wool, we could not look back.
Alpacas are gentle with the land
Alpacas do not damage the pasture when grazing
They nibble only the tops of grasses and other plants: they do not rip other plants out of the ground, resulting in less disturbance of the vegetation and allowing it to grow back.
Alpacas feet do not damage the pasture
In contrast to goats and sheep, which have sharp hooves that damage pasture and soil, alpacas have two toes with toenails on top and a soft pad on the bottom of each foot that minimizes their effect on pasture-land. The grass system is not disturbed by alpacas, allowing the soil and their habitat to remain intact.
Alpacas do not use the land or water destined for food production
The natural habitat of alpacas is about 3.800 metres above sea level. At this altitude, the water supply is natural and the land is generally not suitable for agriculture. This makes alpaca more environmentally friendly than all other fiber-producing livestock that often contributes significantly to serious environmental problems. Vegetable fibres also represent a problem for the environment. For example, in Australia, 2.830 litres of water is needed to produce 1kg of cotton.
Alpacas are highly efficient animals
They require much less food intake than other fibre-producing livestock. Cashmere goats, for example, require at least two times the amount of dry grass that alpacas need to produce 1kg of clean fibre.
Alpacas save energy
Alpacas natural colours are undyed, hence, the environmental issues associated with the dying process are minimized
Alpaca fibres come in more than 22 natural colours. These colours are classified into nine purer colours: White, light fawn, light camel, camel, light brown, brown, grey, brown/black and black with many other subtle shades and hues.
The treatment system for the water used in the washing process requires less chemicals and energy than what is needed for other animal fibres
Compared to other fibres, alpaca fibre has a low grease content (2, 8 - 3, 9%), which means that much less energy and chemicals are required to treat the water used for its washing process.
Alpaca Wool is an excellent insulator and highly flame resistant
The alpaca fibre is an excellent insulator for both heat and cold. It is also highly flame-resistant, making it an important eco-friendly natural fibre material used by the construction industry to insulate homes and businesses.
The Alpaca History
Alpacas were domesticated between the year 4000 and 5000 B.C.
"Alpaca" is a Spanish word derived from the Aymara name "Allpacu", or the Quechuan names "Pacos" or "Pacoshas". Paintings made on rocks more than 8000 years ago were a reference to the interaction between the ancient Peruvians and Alpacas. Early inhabitants began their domestication process of alpacas between 4000 and 5000 B.C.
Alpacas had a strong impact on the ancient Peruvian cultures
The use of alpaca fibre in textiles began around 2500 B.C., and became increasingly important through time in ancient Peruvian cultures. Woven textiles reflected different levels of power and were often given as tribute to the State or to local lords in return for favours or services, such as in barter trading.
Alpacas survived the Spanish conquest
It is estimated that there were more than 10 million alpacas in Peru before the Spanish conquest, and only one out of ten survived. The Spanish invasion and conquest resulted in a severe setback to the breeding development of alpacas. Also, the importation of foreign cattle resulted in the displacement of alpacas to hire, colder and more arid areas. At present, it is estimated that 3,7 million alpacas inhabit the highlands of the Peruvian Andes (in the areas of: Puno, Arequipa, Cusco, Ayacucho, Huancavelica and Apurimac), representing 80% of the worldwide alpaca population.
Alpacas are an important source of income for many Andean families
To more than 1 million small alpaca farmers in the central Andes of South America, alpacas are an important pillar for livelihood. Alpacas are also an extremely important element of cultural identity. According to the Peruvian National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI) census in 2012, a population of 3, 7 million alpacas support these Peruvian families.
Why alpaca fibre is unique
Excellent appearance and durability
The physical characteristics of alpaca fibre, such as its range of colours, structure and resistance, make it possible to create garments of an exceptionally fine quality, luster and drape, properties difficult to replicate using any other textile fibre. The strength, density and curveture of the alpaca fibre make alpaca garments very resistent to wear and tear.
Efficient humidity absorption
Due to the hygroscopic characteristics of the alpaca fibre, garments made of alpaca readily absorb moisture from the environment. In other words, the uncomfortable feeling of a "damp garment" is minimised in very humid climates.
Incredibly soft touch
Microscopically, animal fibres have the appearance of a palm tree with scales. While the height of the scales in wool is between 0, 65 to 0, 90 microns, the alpaca fibre hardly reaches 0, 25 microns. These characteristics make alpaca fibre much softer and smoother than other animal fibres or cotton.
High performance in extreme weather conditions
The physical characteristics of alpaca fibre allow the manufacturing of products with superior performance in extreme climates, in both cold as well as warm weather. Moreover, alpaca fibre is more flame resistant than vegetable or synthetics fibres. Incase of fire, alpaca does not melt onto the skin as synthetic fibres do.
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