Woolie works for packaging insulation

Packaging Professional magazine
,
15 May 2009
Wool insulation

Packaging insulation made from sheep’s wool is said to offer improved thermal properties over polystyrene and polyethylene.

Designer Angela Morris, of food packaging specialists AMA Consultants, based in Market Drayton, UK, has launched Woolcool as an eco-alternative for transporting chilled, perishable products. Sourced from British farms, the wool is cleaned, felted, cut into 50ml strips and sealed within a thin layer of a micro-perforated medium density polyethylene. At the end of life, the materials are said to be easy to separate and recycle.

‘Wool is naturally hygroscopic, and absorbs moisture incredibly effectively,’ explains Morris. ‘This maintains a stable temperature to keep the contents cooler for longer.’

Using TinyTag data loggers, Morris found that a 26l Woolcool courier box requires two 500g ice sheets to keep the contents chilled below five degrees Celsius for at least 24 hours, whereas six 500g ice sheets are recommended for polystyrene or polyethylene boxes of equivalent capacity. And while Woolcool is more expensive, she says this reduced weight translates to transport savings.

Morris is confident that the insulation material can be used for varying applications. ‘With 22m shearable sheep in the UK alone, we envisage that production will only increase.’

Further information: Woolcool