Christmas is coming! But the holidays don’t have to be a time to let our guard down against waste. The over-consumption of “Christmas” sweaters is under examination.
Recent study by Plymouth University found that acrylic was responsible for releasing nearly 730,000 microfibres per wash, five times more than polyester-cotton blend fabric and nearly 1.5 times as many as pure polyester.
Hubbub’s research found that two out of five Christmas jumpers are only worn once over the festive period, and one in three adults under 35 buys a new Christmas jumper every year.
A boundless waste, to be paid dearly, if we consider that plastic fibre acrylic was found in three-quarters of the jumpers tested, with 44% made entirely from acrylic. However, only 29% of consumers realised that most Christmas jumpers contain plastic.
Sarah Divall, the project coordinator at Hubbub, said: «We don’t want to stop people dressing up and having a great time at Christmas but there are so many ways to do this without buying new. Fast fashion is a major threat to the natural world and Christmas jumpers are problematic as so many contain plastic. We’d urge people to swap, buy secondhand or rewear, and remember a jumper is for life not just for Christmas».
Leah Riley Brown, a sustainability policy adviser at the British Retail Consortium, said: «Consumers can be assured that, on average, the clothes they are purchasing have lower environmental impacts. Retailers are making strides to ensure old clothes can be turned into new ones for a more circular economy. They are creating more takeback schemes so clothes can be reused and recycled to divert them away from landfill».
Analysis of 108 garments on sale this year from 11 high street and online retailers – including Primark, George at Asda and Topshop/Topman – found that 95% of the jumpers were made wholly or partly of plastic materials.