Catalonia, a region with a rich tradition in sheep farming, has been a prominent producer of wool for many years. In 2021, Catalonia housed approximately 467,000 sheep, yielding a total of 484 tons of wool annually. Despite this significant production, wool has often been overlooked and underestimated in Catalonia, becoming an underutilized resource. Currently, wool turns into a residue without an effective outlet, despite its qualities as a natural, biodegradable, recyclable, and transformable fiber.
Recognizing this issue, Bioboost is supporting a project that will establish a 100% sustainable wool processing pilot plant in Tagamanent, located in Vallès Oriental. This initiative aims to revitalize the sheep farming sector in Catalonia, preserving the farming tradition and the ecosystem services provided by these flocks.
The plant will be powered by thermal energy generated by the Estella del Montseny project, a forest management initiative utilizing natural resources to obtain renewable energy. Additionally, it will utilize solar energy from photovoltaic installations on the Casa de la Vila building and make use of recovered water from the Tagamanent wastewater treatment plant, ensuring a minimal environmental footprint.
This initiative aligns with key plans and strategies for sustainable development, including the National Strategic Plan for the Common Agricultural Policy 2023-2027, the Strategic Plan for Extensive Livestock Farming in Catalonia 2021-2030, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2030. With this approach, the project aims not only to create a positive impact on society and the region but also to establish an innovative ecosystem around wool.
This ecosystem will include:
- Availability of Pastures in Montseny: Collaborations with the School of Shepherds will encourage access to pastures and responsible land use.
- Wool obtained for various uses: Processed wool will be utilized in a wide range of applications such as textiles, thermal insulation, bioconstruction, and others, opening new opportunities for economic development.
- Local Slaughterhouse: The potential use of the Local Slaughterhouse for livestock sacrifice will reduce the need for intermediaries and improve the meat supply chain management.
- Village Workshop: This facility will enable the production of sheep farming-derived products, creating employment opportunities and reducing intermediaries in distribution.
This project is not only innovative and tailored to the 21st century but also considers the inclusion of young people and women in rural activities, promoting a more equal and sustainable future for the region. Moreover, it significantly contributes to climate change mitigation by reducing carbon emissions, land management, rural development, and the local circular economy.
This pilot plant represents a key opportunity to transform wool, once considered waste, into a valuable resource. The initiative showcases a hopeful path towards a more sustainable and responsible future, where efficient resource management and the valorization of local raw materials can be the pillars of a renewed and ecological rural economy.