Rheden, 6 October 2023


The Chair made of Wool.

From bio-based waste to high end thermoplastic composite materials. The story of 'useless' Dutch wool

Every year approximately 1 million kilos of Dutch wool is wasted and burned (source Trouw 31-08-2021). This wool does not found its way into garments because it is known to be „itchy” and expensive to process locally and it would never reach to be a premium quality wool that is required by consumers. Nowadays, consumers demand wools like Merino or Kashmir. However, the typical Dutch wool is rougher and more colorful.


Dutch wool


However, are there other applications for Dutch wool? Carolien Haver is an artist and designer with special focus on creating products from natural materials using the knowledge of old crafts and new technologies. Carolien has been working with Cato creating products from Thermoplastic Composites. Next to that Cato has already been manufacturing furniture components for Planq from recycled textiles. The initial idea of using recycled textiles for furniture components was developed by Anton and Dennis Teeuw, founders of Planq. This technology is an example of re-use and upcycling of waste textile (e.g. Denim and Army clothing) into structural products. The cooperation has been really successful.

Bringing all creative parties together led to new insights and a unique new use of wool. It turns out wool can be a good natural fiber source in thermoplastic composites materials. When combined with biobased plastic the material is even 100% biobased and has a good structural integrity.

Carolien Haver: “Wool is a very intriguing and valuable feedstock which is worth to use multiple ways. As an artist, I don’t see wool as waste but as a high-quality natural raw material with unprecedented possibilities. It is local, circular and biobased and is available in large amounts. It is hard to accept that it is all being wasted and farmers need to pay for disposing it! To really make a difference in finding applications, it is necessary to be able to work in bulk to work at affordable cost. Our cooperation with Planq and Cato provides a solid foundation and creates space for inventiveness and creativity. Local knowledge and decisiveness leads to a completely new use of wool.”


The Chair made of Wool - components


Within this year the joint “the chair made of wool” project was launched and the product successfully developed. The project has come to a level for readiness for manufacturing for 100% biobased sustainable furniture.

Joost van Lindert, managing director of Cato: “Textile re-use technology has a large potential for other applications. We are also using it to create components using recycled Carbon fiber. So far, it has been labour intensive Cato is working to upscale it into a Manufacturing Solution for large volumes and thus reducing cost and its applicability. The use of Dutch wool fits perfectly into this program and we can use our standard thermoplastic composite technology and can be integrated within Cato’s Thermoplastic Composite Manufacturing Solution Centre in Rheden. Our ambition is to scale from thousands today to tens of thousands efficiently”.

Carolien Haver is supporting the project by organizing supply with selected local farmers, collectors of wool.

 The Chair made of Wool - Rebel


Anton Teeuw, founder of Planq“The products from wool/PLA have a distinguished natural look and good performance. It is different from our re-use textile range because it is 100% natural and uses a local resources. Using our furniture component platform combined with a cost efficient manufacturing solution that Cato is enabling we definitely see potential to find application in large scale interior projects. We are open to partner in order to find broad use for the in fact very valuable “useless” Dutch wool”