Sustainable natural rugs Sustainable natural rugs

Sustainable natural rugs

A closer look at 5 key sustainability factors

There is more to a sustainable product than just a good raw material. The conceptualisation of sustainability must be at the heart of the way a company and its employees think and work. From responsible wool purchasing to CO₂ savings and the use of alternative energy sources, we work every day to protect and preserve our planet.

What is a sustainable rug?


The production of our pure new wool rugs focuses on:

  • working with a natural and renewable raw material,
  • further avoidance of chemical substances and,
  • regional production according to old handicraft traditions.

Social responsibility and sustainable work put our pure new wool rugs at the forefront of lifestyle and design products that promote natural living. Furthermore, from classic hand-woven rugs to elegant and trendy design rugs and our innovative modular rug system, a wide range of our weaving art can be found in our range of products.

Regardless of visual preferences such as design and weave, there are a few points that will definitely catch your eye if you are searching for a rug for your home that is as sustainable as possible. We have compiled these factors below and examined them in detail.

Sustainability factor 1: <br> The raw material for our natural rugs

Sustainability factor 1

The raw material for our natural rugs

What do dogs and sheep have in common? The two species are our oldest animal companions. In fact, sheep farming has been around for thousands of years. The ecological grazing of meadows and alpine pastures serves to maintain the landscape in many places and has also developed into an important branch of agriculture. Thus, countless sheep populate many stretches of land around the world and make a valuable contribution to good soil health.

Natural rugs Natural rugs
Sheep shearing Sheep shearing
Sheep herd Sheep herd

Unlike the clothing industry, we do not need the particularly fine and soft wool fibres - properties that characterise the wool of merino sheep, for example - to make our products.

This breed is often kept in masses for wool production, overbred and "protected" from parasite infestation with unacceptable measures such as mulesing. We use coarser wool from a wide variety of sheep breeds to make our products. We do not use any wool that originates from mulesing processes.


What is mulesing?

Mulesing is a brutal procedure that is mainly used on some farms in Australia to protect merino sheep from fly infestation. It involves removing a plate-sized area of skin from the anus of the lambs, usually without any painkillers, to reduce infestation.

Pure new sheep wool is ...

  • soft
  • crease-resistant
  • flame retardant
  • biodegradable
  • moisture regulating
  • naturally antibacterial
  • dirt-repellent
  • odour repellent
  • water-repellent
  • noise-absorbing
  • room-acoustics-optimising
  • free of microplastics

Sheep must be shorn according to animal protection laws, yet in sheep farming hardly any value is attached to sheep wool and it is often thrown away as waste – expect, for instance, for merino wool. We, however, advocate for the sensible reuse of sheep wool and for an upcycling of the wool in question. We then use this versatile raw material to create sustainable products.

We also openly promote the recycling of natural sheep's wool fibre and do not use synthetic fibres based on finite resources such as petroleum, such as polyamide or polyester. Such substances gradually contribute to more and more microplastics ending up in our rivers, lakes and seas. Wool, on the other hand, always biodegrades without polluting waters with microplastics. Why? Simply, because wool does not contain any plastic.

Sadly, fewer and fewer natural fibres are being used in production lines, often due to the cheap mass production of man-made fibres. For Lehner Wool, however, the respectful use of natural raw materials is a cornerstone for living in balance with nature and the environment – this is what we stand for first and foremost.

Sustainability factor 2: <br> The origin of the sheep wool we use

Sustainability factor 2

The origin of the sheep wool we use

Jura sheep in the barn Jura sheep in the barn

Sheep welfare is very important to us. In principle, most of the wool we use for our rugs comes from Europe. Many of our sheep breeders are located in German-speaking countries. One of them, for example, is a neighbour of ours. The photos in this section were taking during our most recent visit to this breeder, where we were once again able to see for ourselves the welfare of these animals.

This Jura breeding farm pays great attention to ecological criteria, makes sure that the sheep are doing well and is, just like Lehner Wool, an advocate of how virgin sheep wool is a multi-faceted, natural raw material.

Since we conclude bulk contracts for our raw wool and process around 30 different types of raw wool of various qualities and properties, the origin of the wool we use can also change from time to time.

However, after many years of business cooperation, we now maintain a very good relationship with the wool trader for our rug wool. We share many views on animal husbandry and sheep wool and maintain regular contact with him.

With his partnership, we are currently working on concluding long-term cooperation agreements with sheep farms. Simultaneously, we are working on a project in which we will demonstrably ensure animal welfare throughout the entire supply chain. A challenging task that we will be happy to report on further.

Jura sheep in the barn Jura sheep in the barn

Sustainability factor 3: <br> The resource-saving production of our rugs

Sustainability factor 3

The resource-saving production of our rugs

„We want to contribute to the protection of our earth rather than leaving destructive traces on it.”

Alexander Lehner
Executive Director for Lehner Wool GmbH

In the middle of Europe, in Waizenkirchen, Upper Austria, we at Lehner Wool produce classic pure new wool rugs according to traditional weaving craftsmanship. It is close to our hearts not to let the centuries-old skill of weaving fade away.

At the same time, the use of renewable raw materials is one of our core values. Whilst the industrial mass production of rugs consumes enormous amounts of resources - above all petroleum - we are taking the climate-friendly route in many respects.

For instance, in our weaving mill, only renewable natural fibres of virgin sheep wool, jute and linen are processed. This is a first step towards avoiding the consumption of petroleum that occurs in the production of synthetic fibres and producing environmentally friendly rugs.

But that's not all: a high degree of corporate and environmental responsibility is also important to us in the entire manufacturing process of our yarns and rugs, as well as all our pure new wool products. We intentionally work in a way that conserves resources as much as possible and are pleased to be able to present certifications in this area and to receive awards for our efforts time and again:

Engergy Globe

Energy Globe Award

Engery Globe Award - Lehner Wool Engery Globe Award - Lehner Wool

We were already awarded the Energy Globe Award in the "Earth" category in 2010 for the conversion and expansion of our premises. The prize is awarded to recognise the careful and sustainable use of our planet and its resources in the renovation and construction of buildings, transport routes and the like.

Our work impressed the jury with its presentation of our ecological construction methods: the use of renewable raw materials such as wood, clay and sheep wool, an advanced energy and water concept, etc. These are just some of the measures that enable us to produce in an entirely climate-neutral way.

Klimabündnis Betrieb

Climate Alliance business

Climate Alliance business Climate Alliance business

Since 2020, we have been a certified Climate Alliance business. The Climate Alliance Austria has existed since 1990 and is the largest municipal climate protection network in our country. The alliance has made it its business to set local climate protection initiatives and at the same time cares for the protection of the Amazon rainforest.

Because climate protection is important to us in the long term, we have subjected our company site to a climate check, which repeatedly examines and evaluates areas such as energy use, mobility solutions and employee motivation. Further climate goals are also being defined on an ongoing basis. 

Engergy Globe

Entrepreneur for more sustainability  

Felicitas Lehner - Entrepreneur for more sustainability Felicitas Lehner - Entrepreneur for more sustainability

For our environmentally friendly products, but also for our sustainable business practices such as recycling, upcycling, biodegradation and avoiding plastic packaging as much as possible, Felicitas Lehner was able to accept the award "Entrepreneur for more sustainability".

Klimabündnis Betrieb


Counteract earth overload Counteract earth overload

Campaign for Wool

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Nunc viverra imperdiet enim. Fusce est. Vivamus a tellus.

In times when the earth is becoming more and more overloaded and our natural resources are being depleted faster and faster, we believe that it is our duty to take action wherever possible to treat our ecosystem better.

Sustainability factor 4: <br> Social responsibility as part of our corporate policy

Sustainability factor 4

Social responsibility as part of our corporate policy

"Preserve traditions, create jobs", our motto. In many cases, we see the relocation of production to developing countries. In the textile industry, for instance, this relocation is mainly to Asia. The less stringent legislation with regard to environmental pollution and working conditions is the basis for decision-making for many companies.

Lehner Wool Upper Austria Lehner Wool Upper Austria
Upper Austria - rug production Upper Austria - rug production
Weaver at the loom Weaver at the loom
Donauschlinge Oberösterreich Donauschlinge Oberösterreich

As a long-established Austrian family business, we feel the need to create secure jobs here in the rural environment in our home country. In this way, we make our small contribution to ensuring that the valuable cultural landscape of the Hausruckviertel continues to be a place for people to live and work.

As a solid employer and training company, we are pleased to be able to offer people in the region secure employment in many different areas of our company. In doing so, we respect ethical principles whilst valuing fair and open cooperation.

Our commitment to Austria as a production location also enables us to offer rugs made under fair conditions and Central European social and ecological criteria without exception and with complete security.

Sustainability factor 5: <br> From waste to durable, quality products

Sustainability factor 5

From waste to durable, quality products

In Europe alone, we produce an average of 5.8 million tonnes of textile waste per year - and the number is rising continuously. Driven by the fast fashion industry, which constantly sets new trends and pushes rapidly changing collections, the textile waste mountains grow daily.

Avoid textile waste Avoid textile waste

With our decision to use virgin sheep's wool as a raw material, we stand for quality, durability, the avoidance of mountains of waste and respectful recycling management:

  • Made to last: Virgin sheep wool is an extremely robust natural fibre. The rugs show almost no wear and are still an eye-catcher after many years. One could say that a wool rug is made for eternity.
  • Slow Fashion: We weave design classics, with weaving patterns that already existed when our weaving mill was founded. With our design rugs, we have expanded our range to include innovative weaving patterns in a wide variety of colours. The designs are extraordinary, inspired by nature and as timeless as they could be. Today's designer rugs are tomorrow's classics. With our FELICE modular system, it is also easy to replace a colour module without having to remove the entire rug.
  • Second life through recycling: Unlike synthetic fibres, sheep wool is highly recyclable. Did you know that sheep wool is the most recycled fibre? It is renewable and biodegradable and does not produce microplastics. Compared to other fibres, it lives an extraordinarily long life.


A Story to Tell

"We don’t often receive any follow-up news once our rugs have been sent to their new homes. Recently, however, a lady called me who had bought one of our pure new wool rugs 20 years ago (!). Throughout this time, the state of the rug fringes had deteriorated.

Without further ado, we gave the woven rug new fringes on both sides. Now this vintage rug is back in good shape and our customer will enjoy her favourite piece for many years to come.

One can truly speak of longevity here. Every Lehner rug is an almost imperishable quality product that we manufacture here in Waizenkirchen with heart and by hand."

Felicitas Lehner
Geschäftsführerin Lehner Wolle GmbH

What to look for when buying natural rugs?

Natural rug fibres are made from plants or animal hair. Natural fibres are often softer than synthetic fibres and therefore more comfortable to walk on, especially when barefoot. Rugs made from natural materials are usually a little more expensive than synthetic rugs. However, they are usually the healthier choice and bring a bit of nature into your home.

Here are a few points to consider when buying a natural fibre rug:

  • Indoors or outdoors? An important factor for the right choice of material is also the area of use of your rug. Many natural fibres are not suitable as a trendy outdoor rug. We explicitly advise against the use of any wool rugs in outdoor areas. Natural fibres that are suitable are coconut fibre, sea grass and especially sisal rugs.
  • Longevity: Not every natural fibre shines with durability and high quality. Rugs made of silk, for example, are rather delicate and sensitive. Sheep's wool, linen, jute, sisal and hemp are among the most robust and durable materials from which natural fibre rugs are made.
  • Not all wool is the same: There are many different animals from which people can obtain wool through shearing and from which they can also make textiles. Besides sheep, there are, for example, natural fibre rugs from llamas, alpacas or rugs made from camel or goat hair. Not all animal hair has the same properties. So always check exactly what kind of wool you are dealing with.
  • What pollutants can a rug emit? In many cases, natural rugs are also pumped full of chemicals and unfortunately there is not as much left of the natural product despite what the name suggests. This happens, for example, through the use of a chemical wool protector. With industrially manufactured rugs, the back is often sealed with plastic, and the rug naturally contains more chemicals than, for example, a hand-woven rug.

  • Show your colours? White, brown or black sheep can always be seen. Red, orange or green ones are rather rare. For coloured rugs, sheep wool - like any other natural fibre - must be dyed. This can be done with natural dyes or by using chemical dyes. For the sake of fastness and durability, we dye according to the REACH process to ensure that harmless dyes are used.

As with the purchase of any rug, other factors such as rug size, price, quality, exchange options etc. also play a role when buying natural fibre or pure new wool rugs. In our guide to buying rugs, we have put together some more points that might be helpful for you to consider.

Sustainable rugs made from virgin sheep wool

Our products not only protect the environment, but even ensure good indoor air. Sheep wool has good acoustic properties and dampens noises in the room. A sheep wool rug is a piece of nature that provides a sense of well-being. So, the way we see it is that a FELICE rug literally brings a piece of happiness into your home :-)

From the selection of the right wool and its preparation to the weaving and finishing of a rug, a great deal of experience and skill is required. Our sustainable natural rugs made from virgin sheep wool are the result of this knowledge and craftsmanship.

Classic woven rugs

Classic woven rug Classic woven rug
  • 4 traditional weaves
  • Wide range of colours
  • 4 standard sizes
  • Available with or without fringes

Design rugs

Design rugs Design rugs
  • 6 innovative weaves
  • Subtle and vibrant colour combinations
  • 5 standard sizes
  • With matching border / trim

Rug modules

FELICE Rug modules FELICE Rug modules
  • 6 innovative weaves
  • Subtle and vibrant colour combinations
  • 9 standard module sizes for combination
  • With colour-matching border / trim