Woolcool: How it Works and Ways to Reuse it

Woolcool is a sustainable packaging solution used widely in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Fresh food and some medicines often need to be kept at a low temperature during transit to ensure they arrive at the customer’s door in good condition. Here at Animed, we use Woolcool to package our pet medicines that require refrigeration. Not only is Woolcool a sustainable and effective way to insulate products, but it can also be put to many other creative uses. In this blog, we’ll explain exactly how Woolcool works, why it’s sustainable, and offer up some great ideas for how to repurpose your Woolcool once you’ve received your order.

What is Woolcool Made From?

As you’ve probably guessed from the name, Woolcool is made using 100% pure, natural wool.

After shearing, sheep wool is graded and used in lots of different ways – Woolcool uses the thick, scratchy wool that wouldn’t be as suitable for things like clothing, but is perfect for packaging.

This wool is then washed and scoured to make sure it’s nice and clean. Next, it’s felted into strips.

These fleecy strips are protected by an outer layer of fully recyclable plastic, which ensures they comply with safety standards for food and pharmacy products.

Then, the Woolcool is ready to line a cardboard box containing ice packs and your order!

How Does Woolcool Work?

Wool is an incredible natural insulator. It’s usually associated with keeping things warm, but it’s just as effective at keeping things cold!

This is due to the unique structure of wool fibres, which have scales. These scales help to trap moisture from the air, opening and closing depending on what’s around them. Rather than simply acting as a barrier to slow down heat exchange from outside, wool can actively help maintain the cool temperature inside.

Woolcool linings harness this natural power of wool. There are small perforations in the plastic liner film around the strips of wool to allow it to breath in air and moisture from within the cardboard box or pouch, insulating the products inside. The way Woolcool is felted helps to further improve the insulating properties of the wool fibres too.

How Long Does Woolcool Last?

Thanks to the natural insulating technology of wool, Woolcool can keep products at fridge temperature, ambient, or even frozen for up to 72 hours – and sometimes even longer depending on the products inside and number of ice packs used.

Is Woolcool Sustainable?

Not only does wool insulate effectively, but it’s also natural, renewable and biodegradable. This means that, yes, Woolcool is a fantastic sustainable alternative to man-made insulating materials.

The special Woolcool blend is carefully sourced and processed, with no additives like borate or polyester which are often found in other types of wool insulation. When cleaning the raw fleece, neither the washing or scouring process uses extreme temperatures or toxic chemical treatments.

The clean, pure wool we’re left with can be composted, recycled or even reused.

How to Reuse Woolcool

There are so many fun, creative and useful ways to repurpose your Woolcool packaging at home! Whether you’re into gardening, crafts, or simply love a nifty way to save money, we’re sure you’ll be inspired by some of the Woolcool reuse ideas below.

Compost

Wool makes excellent compost, putting nutrients back into the soil for the plants to use. Take off the plastic outer later before tearing up the wool into smaller pieces – this will help speed up the decomposition process. Then pop it straight in your compost!

Plant pot lining

Line your pots, planters and hanging baskets with your Woolcool to improve water retention and keep plants well hydrated. Wool is also full of nutrients and can help encourage plant growth, while also protecting them from both frosts and high temperatures. It may also help deter pests like slugs and snails!

Germinate seeds

If you soak your Woolcool in plenty of water, it can even be used to germinate seeds without the need for soil.

Bird nesting

Birds are always on the lookout for soft, warm materials to help them make their nests – and wool is just perfect! You can either scatter pieces around your garden for birds to find, or stuff pieces directly inside a bird nester. You can also stuff small pieces inside a bird feeder, making sure it’s easy for birds to get hold of and pull out, so that they can take what they need.

Felting

The art of needle felting uses unspun wool to create sculptures, such as cute animals, by poking the wool with a needle. It’s not difficult to learn the basics – who knows what works of art you could end up creating?

Toy stuffing

If you’re a knitter or crochet fan, you could use Woolcool as stuffing for handmade toys!

Protective bag lining

If you’re carrying delicate or expensive items in your bag such as a laptop, your Woolcool sheets are a great way to offer extra protection. Simply pop the lining in your bag so that it rests against the sides, and put your belongings in between for some lightweight padding.

Draught excluder

As we’ve mentioned, wool is a fantastic insulator. So why not use it in your home to keep the chills out? Buy or make a simple draught excluder lining, stuff it with Woolcool and sew up the end. It’ll help keep you warm on chilly days.

Cushions

If you’ve got some old cushions lying around that could do with a bit of plumping up, Woolcool is perfect. Simply fold or stuff the wool inside your cushion cover and voila!

Insoles

Keep your feet toasty warm and super comfy by making your very own insoles with your Woolcool! Simply place your shoe, boot or welly on the wool and draw around it to get the correct size and shape. Then cut it out and insert it into your shoe!

Pet bedding

If you’re really crafty, you could try whipping up a cosy bed for your cat or dog! Since it’s breathable and takes in moisture from the air, Woolcool makes excellent pet bed stuffing and will keep your cat or dog cool in the summer and warm in the winter. By maintaining a low humidity level in your pet’s bed, it’ll help to keep dust mites, dirt and odour at bay!

Donate it

Animal shelters will often accept Woolcool liners as donations. They can be used there as pet bedding!

How to Recycle Woolcool

If you’re not the creative type and there are no animal shelters near you, you can always recycle your Woolcool instead.

Simply remove the plastic outer film and place that in your flexible plastic recycling (recyclable code 4). Different areas may have different rules on what they’ll collect, so double check with your local council. Most supermarkets have a carrier bag recycling point so you can always take it there if need be.

The inner wool can go in your garden waste recycling bin. Tear it up a bit before putting it in.

You can even return your Woolcool linings. The Woolcool Circular Economy Scheme encourages customers to fill a box with their Woolcool linings and send them back to be used again. Simply fill out the return form online, print your label and take your box to your nearest DPD shop. It’s free!

Wrapping Up

We are proud to use Woolcool to insulate pet medication. Not only does this incredible natural substance help to maintain a cool temperature, ensuring important pet medication is kept at the optimal temperature, but it’s a sustainable way to do so, helping us and our customers to do our bit for the planet. Plus, there are so many fun ways to reuse your Woolcool packaging – if you try any of our ideas above, be sure to tag us in your photos on social media so we can see!

Find out how else we’re ensuring our packaging is as sustainable as possible with our new packing machine, the CVP-Impack.

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