Natural Fibers & Sustainability
At NOA Living, we are innately aware of the connections we have to businesses, people, cultures and the environment.
As such, we welcome the responsibility to improve the lives of people who partner with us in making our goods wherever we operate. Find out more about our charter membership in GoodWeave International and what their mission is here.
We ensure our suppliers adhere to fair trade practices and, wherever possible, we monitor our impact on local communities where we do business.
We actively seek to minimize waste and reduce energy and water consumption in the production of our carpets.
Through strategic planning of production times, we optimize transportation and shipment of our goods to maximize efficiency and minimize energy consumption. We choose slow transport by sea, rather than fast transport via air. It takes longer, but the carbon offset is significant.
We are currently developing products that are sourced from recycled and waste materials. Check back with us soon for a preview!
Natural fibers are the essence of our carpets.
Playing a central role in the history of human civilization, wool is one of the oldest fibers known to man. Its use as a material goes back to prehistory, with the first known spun sheep’s wool originating around 5000BC in Mesopotamia, the stretch of land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in present day Iraq. With properties unmatched by any modern synthetic fiber, it’s not surprising that wool has been around for so long–and that it continues to be a natural go-to material today.
Wool’s inner fibers naturally retain water moisture, which allows them to stay soft and supple. Paradoxically, wool is also resistant to absorbing liquids directly, due to the waxy lanolin in its outer fibers, which makes it an ideal material for repelling stains from spills.
Wool also has unique thermal properties that help regulate the temperature in a room and it’s naturally fire-resistant. Acting like a filter, a wool carpet continually pulls odors and dust particles from the air, yet easily releases them with simple vacuuming.
Wool absorbs color readily, from both natural and man-made dyes, resulting in a countless array of hues. After dyeing, wool retains its deep color and resists fading for very long periods of time. Wool carpets that are centuries old are known to be as rich and bright as they were when first woven. It’s natural UV light resistance makes it an ideal material for indoor and outdoor use.
To produce wool, sheep are shorn, a process akin to getting a haircut, typically during Spring, which helps them stay cool during the heat of Summer. Shearing wool happens annually and does no harm to the sheep. Raising sheep for their wool is an age-old, sustainable process which will continue to play an important role in our future . Wool is also the quintessential recyclable material. Its resilient fibers can be used and reused many times over, without a loss of quality or durability in the resulting fabric.
With gentle care, a well-made wool carpet will keep its beauty and value for many generations. At the very end of their long life, you’ll be glad to know that, unlike synthetic fibers, wool fibers are completely biodegradable. Wool decomposes in a short period of time, (from a few months to a few years, depending on environmental conditions) and is readily reabsorbed into the soil as beneficial nutrients.
Interested in learning further about wool as a renewable resource? Read more here.
Sometimes referred to as “the queen of fabrics”, silk is a natural fiber made from the cocoons of silkworms. Archeological evidence and DNA analysis of silk textiles found in ancient Chinese tombs indicate that silk moths were first domesticated in China at around 3500BC. The finest grade of silk in the world comes from the cocoon of the Bombyx mori moth. When hatched from tiny eggs, the Bombyx mori silkworms feed exclusively on mulberry leaves, until they mature and spin cocoons of mulberry silk.
In silk farming, some of the silkworms are allowed to hatch as moths to continue the next generation, while some are kept from hatching and die. Their unbroken cocoons are unraveled by hand to produce a continuous thread between 500 to 1500 meters, (1500 to 4500 feet.) The continuous length of thread coming from a single cocoon is an amazing fact of nature and one of the reasons silk fiber is ideal for making textiles.
Spun silk thread is extremely strong, lasting hundreds of years. The unique triangular cross-section of its fiber allows silk to refract incoming light in multiple directions, much like a prism. This refraction creates the appearance of multiple colors, giving silk its shimmering iridescence. It absorbs dyes extremely well, resists fading over time and unlike synthetic fibers, silk is completely biodegradable and decomposes naturally in soil within a few years.
According to the sustainable fashion journal, ecocult.com, “All of silk’s byproducts are integrated back into the local ecosystem and economic system. The mulberry fruits are eaten, the wood is used for timber or fuel, the foliage is fed to cattle, extra waste is used as fertilizer, and lower quality silk is used as filling in silk products like duvets. Sericin, a beneficial bioactive compound which is recovered from the wastewater, can be added to food, cosmetics, textiles, and pharmaceuticals.”
Because of its biodegradability and its production process, silk is considered a circular, zero-waste fabric.