Case Study: Recycled Wool in Textiles

Donegal Yarns is a member of the Circular Bioeconomy Cluster South-West, and with their participation in the cluster programme, Bioeconomy Industry Innovation Sprint, they identified a project that delivered on practical circular economy impact for the business, unlocking new market opportunities and revenue potential. 

Donegal Yarns, based in Kilcar, Donegal, is one of the leading Irish companies producing indigenous and authentic textile products using natural fibres. Sustainability and heritage are core to how the company approaches their production, design and manufacturing. Since 2013, Donegal Yarns actively works to embed local resources into their manufacturing by working with farmers, merchants and designers to reinstate Irish grown wool into the supply chain.

Recognising the importance of the EU Textile Strategy 2030 vision and changing consumer attitudes towards sustainable products and provenance of materials, there is an opening of new market opportunities for indigenous textile manufacturers in Ireland. 

Students taking part in the Bioeconomy Industry Innovation Sprint, from the MTU Postgraduate Bioeconomy with Business Certificate programme, are trained to identify sustainable and circular improvement opportunities within businesses to meet wider goals and actions such as those in A Waste Action Plan for Ireland, the Bioeconomy Action Plan and in this case specifically, the EU Textile Strategy. By engaging with cluster members through their Work Based Learning placement, they understand implementation of circular bioeconomy principles in a workplace setting. 

Business Improvement Opportunity 

In this case study, Donegal Yarns shared their goal to reduce textile waste in their manufacturing process. As part of the programme, the company embarked on a project and identified many benefits to becoming a circular: 

  • Reduce wool condenser waste up to 37%
  • Elimination of transport based emissions to UK
  • Opportunity to add ‘recycled’ wool product to existing range increasing revenue streams
  • Demonstration of the company commitment to circular and sustainability goals and business models
  • Brand association with highly regarded designers in the clothing industry and Irish & EU wool sector
  • Continued participation in Design Sprint events with Ireland’s Knowledge Centre for Climate, Carbon & Community Action ( Munster Technological University for second and third level students and life long learners
  • Further connections with industry, academia and government agencies to enhance circularity in Irish textiles sector. 

Case Study 

Read the case study to learn more about the project, the challenge and proposed solutions: Donegal Yarns Next Steps 

Content by Eve Savage, Educational Designer at Ireland’s Knowledge Centre for Carbon, Climate and Communities.