The Woolmark Company has revealed up to 35% of an estimated 1.7 million tons of microfibres released into the ocean each year are made up of synthetic clothing fibres. You may not know but synthetic fibres in clothes – such as polyester, acrylic or nylon – are actually plastic, which can eventually find its way into landfill and our oceans.
As awareness continues to grow around the subject, the push for environmentally conscious consumers to look towards buying natural fibres while browsing the rack is growing.
What is textile biodegradability and why is it so important? Textile biodegradability is another way of referencing a natural product, such as Merino wool and its ability to decompose naturally into the environment without causing any pollution. It is recyclable and biodegradable, releasing nutrients back into the soil upon the end of its lifecycle.
Top Tips to #BuyBetter Here are 4 top tips to help turn your closet into a sustainable, yet fashionable time-capsule, curtesy of The Wool Company.
1. Know what fibres are biodegradable
- Wool, including Merino wool: Wool is 100% biodegradable in both land and marine environments. Remember when HRH The Prince of Wales famously buried a wool sweater and polyester sweater in his Clarence House garden? When he went to dig them up a few months later, the wool sweater had all but disappeared whereas the synthetic sweater needed a trip to the laundry but was fit to be worn. In fact, not only does wool biodegrade in the earth, but it also promotes soil health, releasing valuable nutrients back into the ground. Wool fibres also biodegrade in marine environments; no microplastic pollution here. But don’t worry, your woollens won’t wear away quickly, with wool clothes being durable to stand the test of time.
- Cotton: Cotton is a plant-based fibre, and like wool, is 100% natural. We love cotton for its eco-friendly credentials, such as also being biodegradable.
- Linen: Cotton’s cousin linen also biodegrades when buried in the soil.
- Hemp: Also derived from plants not heavily processed, hemp is a biodegradable fibre.
2. How often a garment needs washing?
This will impact its environmental footprint. Wool clothes require less washing than clothes made from synthetic fibres, saving you time and money on water and energy bills. And the sweetener, washing wool is super easy. Proper care can considerably extend the garment’s life.
3. Where do my clothes come from?
Made in? Grown in? It’s important to know where and how your clothes are made, and even who made them. This way you can find out if the workers are being paid a living wage.
4. Keep an eye out for the gold standard
The iconic Woolmark logo is a symbol of trust and quality. Indicators such as this are the best way to know that you are buying a product made from natural, renewable and biodegradable wool that meets rigorous standards
For more information on the significance of buying sustainable and ethical fashion, head to The Wool Company.