The Eco-Friendly Alpaca

An unshorn alpaca, courtesy Wikipedia

When you’re shopping around for eco-friendly fabric, don’t forget about alpaca! Alpaca is a wonderfully soft fabric similar to wool, but it’s markedly different when it comes to its impact on the environment.

The Eco-Friendly Alpaca

Alpacas are considered by many experts to be the oldest domesticated livestock in existence. The animal originated in South America, primarily in the Andes in Peru, Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia. As you can see in the picture alpacas look very similar to llamas, but they were not bred to bear burdens. For thousands of years, they’ve been bred exclusively for their coats.

So, what makes the alpaca, and its crazy looking coat, so eco-friendly?

1. Lack of Allergens

Courtesy Wikipedia

Alpaca fiber does not contain the allergen lanolin like sheep fiber does. Sheep fiber (aka: wool) must be washed with harsh chemicals to get off the lanolin. This leads to watershed pollution when those chemicals and detergents go down the drain. Because alpaca doesn’t contain this allergen, no harsh washing is needed.

2. Small Family Farms

Alpacas are also mainly raised on small, sustainable farms in the Andes, as well as here in the United States. When you purchase alpaca products, you’re helping support small family farms.

3. Low Impact

Alpacas have very unique, flat front teeth. This means they “cut” the grass.

What’s so great about that? Well, sheep and cows often pull up the grass as they eat, consuming the root as well as the stalk. This contributes to over-grazing and decimated pastureland.

Alpacas are just like a mower…they eat the grass down but leave it safely intact so it can keep growing.

They also metabolize their food much more efficiently than sheep do. And their manure (called “PacaPOO” by alpaca lovers) makes for wonderful, low-odor fertilizer.

Alpacas also have a two-toed foot (not a hoof). Their soft feet cause much less damage to the soil than hoofed lifestock.

Last Word…

Alpacas, courtesy Wikipedia

If you’ve never had the opportunity to feel alpaca fiber, then you should try to find some. It’s truly luxurious and, the softness is like touching a cloud. In my opinion the fiber is incredibly superior to wool, and the fact that alpaca is also so eco-friendly is a huge bonus.

And besides, they’re so darn cute! I wish I could have one in my backyard.

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10 Responses to “The Eco-Friendly Alpaca”

  1. [...] Levin presents The Eco-Friendly Alpaca posted at Earth Divas’ Blog. Heather says, “Want to know why the alpaca, and its wool, [...]

  2. I totally agree, they are adorable!! Great idea, nice post :)

  3. Nice post. Thank you for information ! Please keep posting.

  4. We’re women. Our choices are never easy.

  5. [...] natural ingredients like plants or animal hair. This includes cotton, hemp, sisal, tencil, wool, alpaca, jute, bamboo, [...]

  6. [...] this allergen and this process can pollute water. I also checked other eco blogs, and according to Earth Diva’s blog alpaca is also gentle to the grass because they have unique flat front teeth that allow them to cut [...]

  7. [...] is why alpaca is such a wonderful fabric for those in-between seasons. It’s light and airy, and yet [...]

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