A team of students from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá have taken home the prize for best 'vegan wool' - in a challenge posed to them by PETA, Stray Dog Capital, and Stella McCartney.
The wool alternative - dubbed 'Woocoa' - is made from a combination of coconut fibers, hemp, and mushroom enzymes and is fit to be woven and dyed similarly to real wool.
PETA Director of Corporate Affairs Anne Brainard described the product as an 'eco-friendly, biofabricated material that will satisfy consumers' - noting that the product is not only good for sheep, but also the planet.
Woocoa team member Manuel Ortiz explained that the team drew from the use of over 114 plant fibers in Colombian artisanal crafts to develop their product.
He added that the coconut fiber used to make Woocoa would otherwise be an 'agricultural waste product' - making the product an eco-friendly solution to animal suffering.
Oritz explained how mass-production of Woocoa could benefit Colombian communities - noting that it 'generates job opportunities in Colombia and can help mitigate the environmental impact from the textile industry'.
He said also that 'hemp could be grown as a replacement of illegal crops on areas that were afflicted by the internal conflict with the rebel group FARC' - allowing this team, and Woocoa, to give back to the nation and its people.
Emily Court is a passionate ethical vegan from Eastern Canada. She is a Challenge 22 Mentor, Digital Writer, and experienced animal advocate driven by issues of animal liberation and social justice. She studied at Dalhousie University, where her thesis highlighted intercultural and gender relations. She is an established public speaker, writer, and world traveller with a drive to provide a voice to those who might not otherwise have one. You can follow her on Instagram @emily.j.court or on Twitter @_EmilyJCourt_.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.
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