Is Alpaca Wool Vegan + Sustainable?

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 08/03/22 •  8 min read

Is alpaca wool vegan and sustainable? These are questions every ethical consumer asks. Here is how buying alpaca wool will impact you, the environment, animals and laborers. 

is alpaca vegan and sustainable

Fabric, materials and textiles are things we consume often. If you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on alpaca wool.

You are going to learn all about alpaca wool’s vegan and sustainability status. Additionally, the following info will include alpaca wool advantages and disadvantages for your home, whether alpaca wool is a natural fiber, biodegradable…or perhaps even destructive!

After learning if alpaca wool is vegan and sustainable you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you shop.

This post is all about learning if alpaca wool is vegan and sustainable.

Is Alpaca Wool Vegan And Sustainable?

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Durability: pros alpaca is long lasting, durable, more durable than cashmere | cons alpaca weaker and coarser than sheep’s wooI, not water-repellant

Versatility: pros alpaca is silky, luxurious, soft, wrinkle resistant, warmer than sheep’s wool, hypoallergenic (as it has no lanolin), uses include making clothes and blankets, can be lightweight or heavyweight | cons alpaca has less elasticity than sheep’s wool

Accessibility: alpaca is somewhat rare

Alpaca is…

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ENVIRONMENT

Fiber source: natural, alpaca is a natural fiber, derived from the hair/fur of the alpaca animal to make wool

Biodegradable: yes, alpaca is biodegradable, alpaca wool will decompose in about 1 to 5 years depending on the blend

Destruction: high, alpaca production is relatively destructive, insecticides and antibiotic treatments are not required, but with the large number of animals unnaturally bred onto the planet in the name of human utilization, they emit high volumes of carbon emissions and contaminate air, water, soil, etc., alpaca is not eco-friendly and unsustainable due to the overwhelming strain on natural resources (the water needed, food needed and land usage that must happen for such abundant amounts of animals to live)

Alpaca is…

ANIMALS

Kills: none, alpaca production does not require any animals to die

Harms: alpacas, workers roughly handle, hit, kick, tie down and mutilate crying, distressed, vomiting alpacas when being sheered and incur injuries

Indirectly kills or harms: alpacas, ecosystems and wildlife, wildlife considered to be “threats” to alpacas leads to landowners killing kangaroos and coyotes, permitted by law, resulting in millions slaughtered every year by ranchers and the federal government, many alpacas are slaughtered for meat once they are no longer wanted for their coats

Alpaca is…

LABORERS

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Alpaca…

What are alpaca material uses?

Alpaca uses include making clothing, bedding, hats, scarves, gloves and rugs.

What is the material abbreviation for alpaca?

WP is the material abbreviation for alpaca.

alpaca is durable.

durable, long lasting fabrics, materials and textiles

Is alpaca durable or delicate? Alpaca is durable and long lasting when cared for properly. Alpaca is more durable than cashmere but is not water-repellant and weaker and coarser than sheep’s wooI.

For every 5 garments produced, the equivalent of 3 end up in a landfill or incinerated each year!

One reason for such wastefulness society’s ever growing desire to acquire. Fast fashion (creating low-priced items at high volumes) is problematic for a number of reasons and promotes the attitude that clothing is nearly disposable.

But another component of such a quick turnaround on clothing is because it’s just not lasting long enough. Snags, stains, warping and shrinkage render items unusable and unacceptable for the  donation pile. Avoid such problems by buying better quality, more durable, long lasting materials. Timeless wardrobe favorites that last for years and years are more sustainable and reduce the need for replacements. 

Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck full of textiles burns or goes to landfills…

Keep minimalism in mind and buy less, borrow and buy items second hand. Thrift shops offer many inexpensive, unique finds that have already proven to stand the test of time!

alpaca is unsustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Is alpaca eco friendly and sustainable? No, alpaca is unsustainable.

Alpaca is biodegradable and alpaca wool will decompose in about 1 to 5 years depending on the blend. However, they emit high volumes of carbon emissions and contaminate air, water, soil, etc.

Alpaca is not eco-friendly and unsustainable due to the overwhelming strain on natural resources (the water needed, food needed and land usage that must happen for such abundant amounts of animals to live).

Animal materials are a natural fiber and biodegradable unless heavily treated with chemicals. However, they are not at all eco-friendly or sustainable due to the overwhelming strain on natural resources; the water needed, food needed and land usage that must happen for such abundant amounts of animals to live.

With the high number of animals unnaturally bred onto the planet in the name of human utilization, specifically ruminants (cows, sheep, goats, deer, camels, etc.), they emit high volumes of carbon emissions and contaminate air, soil and water with their waste (excrement). This is also toxic to ecosystems and wildlife. 

Animal agriculture is not good for the environment, human health and of course, the animals themselves. Thus, animal derived, non-vegan materials are not only cruel and inhumane but environmentally unsustainable. 

Read more about ‘What Makes Fabric Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’

alpaca is not vegan.

Is alpaca vegan? No, alpaca is not vegan.

Cows, sheep, alpacas, goats, ducks and foxes are animals commonly subject to exploitation for their skins, hair or feathers. In fact, BILLIONS of them die every single year simply in the name of fashion. 

Before buying a pair of shoes, a sweater, a purse, check the materials. Common and unfortunately popular animal-derived materials include:

These materials often come from places like India and China where there can be NO animal welfare laws or enforcement. But if the item does come from a more developed area of the world, such as the United States or Europe, that animal was likely a victim of factory farming. In such overcrowded farms there is confinement, disease and animals sometimes live their entire lives indoors, never seeing the light of day.

Material from animals may involve slaughtering like leather and fur production, for instance. In regards to wool or feathers, animals struggle while workers hold them down and beat them in order to shear their coat or rip feathers from skin. This leaves them bloody and wounded in pain. 

Dressing and decorating vegan is easier than ever with this: Vegan Fabrics, Materials and Textiles List

alpaca may or may not have labor issues and human rights concerns.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is alpaca a material that has laborer issues? At this time, there are no known specific reports of worker mistreatment regarding alpaca farming but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Alpaca production may or may not have labor issues.

Did you know that the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? Whether agriculture involves crops or animals, the labor behind each and every product made from cotton, leather, wool, etc. cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers.

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives simply by being mindful to buy items that are certified fair trade. 

This post was all about whether alpaca wool is vegan and sustainable. 

Sources:

Crying, Vomiting Alpacas Tied and Cut Up for Wool – PETA

Alpaca Fiber – Product Information – Peruvian Connection

Sew Guide: Fabric glossary

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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