The “wollekes”, the ecological alternative to heaters in restaurants

Some have already thought of everything to be at the height of style even when temperatures approach zero this winter, starting with adopting the onion technique which consists of superimposing several layers of clothing to stay warm. But others plan instead to stay warm and hibernate for the next four months to avoid looking like a Michelin man whenever they want to enjoy an evening outdoors. Because before, the question did not arise: we quickly put on a simple jacket and the many heaters installed on the terraces of our favorite cafés, bars, restaurants and brasseries took care of the rest by quickly warming up the atmosphere. Except that in a context where our society is going through a real climate emergency, braziers and radiators of all kinds are seen as an ecological aberration. And when the energy crisis gets involved, causing gas and electricity bills to explode, it is the entire catering sector and cities that try to find alternatives.

How to stay warm without losing energy?

Never again without your “wolleke”!

In Brussels, a new kind of accessory will therefore appear on the terraces of many restaurants and cafés: the “wolleke”. Taken from the Flemish word “wolle”, it means wool in French. It is similar to a woolen blanket, which can easily be folded up so that it is enclosed in a bag. To develop this hybrid accessory, the city of Brussels called on students from La Cambre. To make them, the students used recycled fabrics from circular economy operators such as Les Petits Riens, but also from Stib, which for its part provided fleece sweaters. The bags in which the blankets are slipped are made from old work clothes from the city of Brussels. Everything is assembled and sewn within the Ouvroir working company.

If for the time being, these wollekes are only at the pilot project stage – they will initially only be available in about thirty establishments in the capital – the approach, which is both ecological and sustainable, seems to convince and if these wollekes also know how to keep us warm, they may well become the new essential accessories for our winter!

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