Natural animal fibre.
Cashmere is a type of wool that is made from the hair of a certain type of goat native to the Gobi Desert and Central Asia. Long considered to be one of the softest and most luxurious types of wool in existence, cashmere is highly prized as a material for sweaters, scarves, and other light cold-weather gear.
Where it grows / Where it is made
Top countries: Mongolia - China - Iran - Afghanistan - Kazakhstan - Kyrgyzstan - Pakistan - India - Turkey
Sweaters, hats, dresses, shirts, socks, underwear, thermal gear, hosiery, scarves, blazers, gloves.
Impact on the environment
On different aspects, cashmere is not as sustainable as you might think:
1. The goats this fabric comes from have very little fat, shearing them too early mid-winter means they can freeze to death.
2. There’s growing concern about the working conditions of cashmere goat herders.
3. The increased demand for cashmere has meant herd sizes have increased, driving the desertification of Mongolian grasslands.
More sustainable alternatives
Soy fabric, wool.
End of life possibilities
Suitable for many end of life opportunities, though very slow to compost. Re-cycled for example to Third World countries. Knitwear that can not be used for the above (contains holes, soiled) would go in to making shoddy or felts used in bedding and automotive applications. Cashmere knitwear would be used for such items as making hanging basket inners, insulation for sewers etc.
Buy recycled or second hand cashmere if you must have it.