This month is ‘Plastic Free July’ which is a global movement for all of us around the world to reduce the use of plastic to protect our oceans, our countryside as well as the health of our communities. The sad truth is that globally, the world produces over 390 million tonnes of plastic per year. This is the equivalent weight of all humans on earth. Over time plastic leaks into our environment and water systems where it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces, so-called microplastic. These small pieces of plastic often release toxic chemicals and get eaten by smaller animals which can harm them. Experts estimate that there are over 3 trillion plastic fragments floating in the ocean. With these kinds of numbers, we are certainly not telling you anything new and all of us are aware that something needs to change. Initiatives like Plastic Free July can help us move this important topic to the forefront of our busy lives and motivate us to start making small changes. 

 

At Core Merino, we want to support the initiative of Plastic Free July by sharing with you some ideas of how all of us can contribute to a world with less plastic. Here is an overview of tips and ideas on how to reduce the use of plastic in our everyday life. Have a look and decide which of these ideas you can easily incorporate. 

 

Plastic-free bathroom

Within the realms of our bathroom, we end up using many single-use plastics in forms of bottles, jars, and tubes. Luckily there are many companies exploring alternative options to help remove plastic from our bathrooms. 

Shampoo and soap bars 

One easy way to reduce plastic is with ‘naked’ beauty supplies such as shampoo or soap bars. These are typically only wrapped in paper. There is a growing offer of shampoo bars of which some even contain conditioner as well. Going back to using a good old soap instead of a liquid body wash almost has a vintage vibe to it and we at Core Merino are already big fans. 

Blade Razors

While going plastic-free we also want to continue going hair-free as and where to our personal liking. Modern society’s razors however do create a lot of plastic pollution. On this topic, previous generations also had a less polluting option: A plastic-free reusable razor with plastic-free razor blades.

With this type of razor, you never throw away the handle and only exchange the razor blade which is a thin metal blade, which means less waste to go into the dump. 

It might take a little getting used to, but you might actually be surprised about the perfect result.   

Plastic Free Glitter

Let’s be honest here, most children and also many adults just love glitter. There is something about glitter that makes us smile and feel happy. Glitter can be found on so many products such as birthday cards, makeup, nail polish, clothes, and party decorations. Glitter just makes everything a little bit more fun. Unfortunately, glitter is also made of plastic and literally is already in the shape of microplastic. 

Choosing glitter-free products is of course the best solution. However, if you do need that short moment of shine, watch out for products with plastic-free glitter. Some companies have specialised in finding sparkling alternatives that biodegrade and do not harm our planet. So you can have your glitter after all. 

 

Plastic-free kitchen

There is a reason for the saying ‘Plastic fantastic’ because plastic products are quite convenient and make our life easier. This is also true for our kitchens. So many little plastic gadgets make cooking and storing food hassle-free. Therefore, when we are in search of plastic-free alternatives, we need to make sure our lives stay easy. 

Reusable Veggie bags

In recent years, many supermarkets started reducing the use of single-use plastic bags. In some countries, single-use plastic bags are even forbidden or specially taxed. However, one plastic bag typically remains: the very thin foiled plastic bag to put in your fruit and vegetables. To tackle this plastic in our life, supermarket chains and individual companies have developed reusable veggie bags that you bring along on your trip to the supermarket. You fill each bag with the fresh produce of your choice as usual and the cashier weighs the bags at the cash desk as if nothing is strange about that. Check out your local supermarket to see if they already have reusable veggie bags or research a brand online which can ship you their bags. 

Vegetable box

Another way to get your weekly dose of fruit and veggies is to subscribe to a vegetable box. In many cities, local farmers offer weekly deliveries of fresh produce currently in season. Besides being plastic-free, this weekly surprise at your doorstep also gets your creativity going as you try out new recipes with your assortment of yummy vitamins. 

Loose-leaf tea

When we think about plastic waste that can be avoided, the so popular coffee pods quickly come to mind. And yes, think about using reusable coffee pods instead or switch to filter coffee. However, when you are a tea and not a coffee person, this does not concern you, or does it? Over the years many tea companies have changed their teabags from paper to plastic, especially in the premium tea segment. To reduce plastic in the tea department, you can explore loose leaf teas. You will be amazed at how many wonderful loose leaf tea options are available and soon discover your favorite new tea leaf mix. 

 

Plastic-free closet

Checking for plastic in our wardrobe is not the first thing that comes to mind when we try to reduce the plastic in our life. Taking a closer look, however, reveals that there is some room for improvement.

Buy natural fibre clothes instead of synthetics

Nobody ever looked at a barrel of oil and thought ‘this would make a great pair of trousers’. While this sentence holds true, in reality, our closets today are filled with synthetic clothes made of crude oil or chemicals deriving from oil. 

Whenever we wear or wash our synthetic clothes, small dust-like particles fall off our garments and harm our environment. Clothes made of natural fibres also lose small particles but these can biodegrade. Many of our Core Merino garments are made of 100% wool, so you can ensure your Core garments are not doing any harm. In addition, we are working on plastic-free alternatives for our fibre blend garments and hope to deliver something to you soon. 

Review your Accessories habits

Accessories make and break an outfit. They are an easy, cheap, and fun way to add something special and new to your look. However, if you have a closer look at your accessories, how many are you actually wearing, and how many are made of plastic? Many accessories such as belts, flip flops, bracelets, necklaces, or headbands are made of plastic or similar synthetic materials. They are cheap but therefore also not very durable and look worn out pretty quickly. Try reducing the number of accessories you buy on a regular basis and identify accessories worth investing in that will last you a long time and always make you feel wonderful.  

Rethink your wardrobe accessories

In a world already drowning in plastic, plastic hangers aren’t typically the first thing you would think of as being a problem but experts estimate that billions of plastic clothing hangers are thrown away globally every year, with most used and discarded well before a garment is hung in stores let alone in your own cupboard. Our favourite alternative to plastic hangers are wooden ones that last longer and are easier to repair if broken. With an estimated 85 percent of all plastic hangers ending up in landfills where they can take centuries to break down, it is certainly time to consider ditching plastic hangers and opting for more sustainable solutions to keep your garments wrinkle-free.

Plastic-free travel

At Core Merino, we love to travel and while many of our future travel plans are up in the air at the moment it still is a great time to plan ahead and ensure plastic-free adventures. We already shared some of our travel tips in our recent blog posts here. Of course, the downside of travel is that it causes a lot of CO2 emissions and that we often make use of a lot of single-use plastics as they are so convenient when on the road. Nevertheless, there are ways to go plastic-free when exploring the world. 

Re-usable cups and bottles

When we go on a trip, we know that we will get thirsty and we will crave our regular dose of coffee. If you are willing to take things slow, you can drink up in coffee shops and restaurants. However, as we often want to get quickly back on the road, we find it convenient to bring our drinks along the road in single-use cups and bottles. Try making the switch to reusable cups and bottles. It does take a little bit of planning ahead but it also gives you a kind of feeling of home while being away when you always have your favorite coffee cup with you. 

Washable face masks

As we are still battling with a global pandemic, face masks continue to be a must-have especially when we need to travel for work. While your health is of utmost importance it is also worth the time to look at the type of face mask you are using. Many of us use single-use face masks out of convenience, however, these often contain plastic and end up polluting our environment. See if you find a re-usable washable face mask instead. You can check out our neck warmers, which are an alternative, sew your own, or purchase from a local who started getting creative with cool face mask designs. 

Re-usable utensils

During the pandemic, the use of single-use forks, spoons, and knives also increased as we could not eat in restaurants but had the option of takeaways instead. Also, when we travel, we tend to have more takeaways as it can be fast and convenient. Like the reusable plastic cup, it is also possible to bring along a set of utensils to eat from. You might be surprised about how much better your take away tastes when you eat it with a proper non-plastic fork and knife. Definitely worth a try.  

 

We hope this blog post motivates you to rethink your habits and the plastic in your everyday life. We can only make a change in this world if we all contribute in our own small ways. 

 

If you want to read up more about plastic free july, visit https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/

You can also educate yourself by visiting https://shift.how/ which is a large resource of ideas on how to go plastic-free. 

 

The Battle Against Climate Change Needs To Continue Despite Coronavirus

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day event, this annual occasion is celebrated in over 100 countries and has gained traction in South Africa over the past few years. Earth Day 2020, taking place on the 22nd of April, is one of the largest non-religious gatherings worldwide and highlights the importance of taking care of the environment. However, with the significant gain of the movement in SA, activists and participants are now left with questions as to how they will celebrate the environment while staying at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Read more

Why a merino wool garment is a perfect gift

Core Merino Christmas gift ideas 2019

Are you still missing a few Christmas gifts to give to your loved ones during our favorite holiday of the year? May we suggest to consider gifting a Core Merino garment this year? Read more

What to pack on Safari

With the Christmas holidays nearing, many of us will start planning for a little trip. Going on Safari to one of the many beautiful parks and reserves we have in South Africa is a popular choice. Read more

Wool is part of the natural carbon cycle

In South Africa, we have been experiencing severe drought during the last couple of years. At the same time around the world, many countries are experiencing similar heat waves and droughts combined with extreme storms and floods. During the 136 years of weather recording, seventeen of the 18 warmest years have occurred since 2001. These severe weather patterns are commonly summarised as climate change. As geological findings demonstrate, climate change has occurred throughout the history of this planet. However, this time 90% of all climate researchers are certain that the current change in climate is happening due to human activity.

This leads quickly to the question of which human activity is the highest contributor to climate change? Many news media repeatedly report that livestock is the greatest contributor to climate change. In fact, there is one particular number being (falsely and repeatedly) mentioned, claiming that 18% of GHG emissions come from livestock and that these livestock emissions are higher than all transport combined.

In this blog post, we want to look at this statement more closely and provide you with the context, the bigger picture, and the correct figures.

Biogenic Carbon – Wool is part of a natural carbon cycle

All livestock such as sheep and cattle are part of a natural carbon cycle. You may remember from your biology class, that CO2 is a natural gas present in our atmosphere and is needed for photosynthesis. In fact, each year 155 billion tons of atmospheric carbon is converted to biomass carbon (also called biogenic carbon) which are in simpler terms plants, grass, and trees.

Sheep eat biogenic carbon, in the form of grass and shrubs and other plants. Their digestive system then turns the grass partially into the amino acids of the wool fibre and partially carbon and methane gases which return into the atmosphere. In fact, 50% of the weight of clean wool is made up of pure biogenic carbon. Wool is in some way a special form of carbon storage until it biodegrades and returns the carbon back to the soil. The CO2 and methane gases which the sheep releases through its digestive system are returned to the atmosphere and can be turned back into biogenic carbon through photosynthesis.

Synthetics are made of fossilised carbon

All synthetic textile fibres such as polyester, acrylic or nylon are made of crude oil. Crude oil, along with gas and coal is fossilised carbon. Fossilised carbon is excess biogenic carbon which nature has stored away into long-term storage over the millennia. We humans have started to add this long term carbon storage back into the atmosphere during the last 150 years since the first oil wells were found in 1870. 60% of this additional carbon can be absorbed through photosynthesis and oceanic storage. However, the remaining 40% stays in the atmosphere and heats up our planet.

With synthetic fibres the issue is that the fibres do not biodegrade but instead only break down into small microfibres polluting our soil and water (read more about biodegradation here).
However, the largest amount of carbon emissions is generated by energy production and consumption as well as transportation (cars, planes, etc.). This brings us back to the comparison mentioned above of who emits more greenhouse gases, livestock or transport? This topic also brings us back to Life Cycle Assessment, which we have been talking about in our blog series.

False numbers with a long shelf life

In 2006, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), a United Nations organisation, published the famous number claiming livestock contributes to 18% of GHG emissions. FAO added in their report that this was more than the transportation sector.
Since then, FAO has revised these numbers because further research showed that they were incorrect. How did this happen?

FAO had conducted a full LCA of livestock. This means they had included the whole life cycle of the livestock supply chain from farm to the grave. This included GHG emissions from the production of fertilisers, pesticides, plant emissions, feed production, manure, digestive emissions, slaughter, transport, industrial food processing etc. Based on the LCA methodologies available in 2006, the number of 18% was actually quite well calculated. However, the error FAO made back then was in not doing a full-fledged LCA for the transportation industry and instead just using the tailpipe emissions from different vehicles. In other words, the calculations for the transport industry did not include extruding of oil, transportation of oil, emissions from refineries, manufacturing of cars, planes and other transportation vehicles, use and recycling of vehicles. The numbers were not comparable.

In the meantime, the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has published numbers that only look at the direct emissions of livestock (manure and digestive gases) and transport (tailpipe emissions). These numbers identify livestock to contributing 5% of all GHG emissions while transport contributes 14%.
So far, researchers have not been able to calculate the full emissions based on the life cycle of transport as there is not enough data available. However, the life cycle emissions for livestock have been updated based on improved LCA methodologies and are calculated to be 14,5%, if all inputs and outputs are being considered.

The next time you hear or read the news claiming livestock are the largest contributor to climate change, you will know that the reporter behind the news item didn’t do his research well as he is citing outdated numbers.

When it comes to choosing a new garment, you will be able to make better choices for yourself and the planet.

Going, going, gone – how wool biodegrades

We continue our series of blog posts about sustainability with the topic of biodegradation, which is the last stage of the wool life cycle. In this blog post, we look at how wool is biodegradable and why it is important for our planet.

Landfills are full

In today’s world, we seem to be suffocating in waste. In many countries, landfills have reached their capacity leading to waste being shipped off to other countries, a practice that is not solving the problem at all. In addition, recycling systems are not yet established to the capacity needed. Last but not least there is also a waste leakage issue, meaning waste leaks into our beautiful landscapes, rivers and oceans endangering animals and the health of our soil.

Nature does not have a waste issue

On the contrary, when we look at nature, all biological, natural products are recycled through biodegradation. Biodegradation is the process of micro-organisms breaking down natural products made up of carbon, oxygen and other molecules. This process occurs in soil as well as in water.

Wool is biodegradable

Wool is a natural fibre and therefore can also biodegrade. Wool is made of the natural protein called keratin. Keratin is a member of a group of structural proteins that form the basis for hair, fur, feathers, scales and claws of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians. In other words, sheep wool and human hair are both made up of the same protein Keratin. Like everything nature develops, Keratin readily biodegrades.

Wool biodegrades in 6 months

The ideal conditions for wool to biodegrade is in warm, damp soil conditions combined with access to oxygen. The biodegradation process starts with naturally occurring fungi that start weakening the wool fibre. Afterward, bacteria eat up the fibre. Tests show, given the right conditions, wool can biodegrade in around 6 months. Currently, there is research underway, which examines how wool biodegrades in water. Early results show that within 90 days in seawater, various types of wool have biodegraded by 20%.

However, there is no need to worry that your wool garment will biodegrade in your closet. Keeping your wool garments in your closet or wearing it will not start any biodegrading process. Wool is extremely durable when kept in normal conditions. Archeologists even found several thousands of years old wool samples.

How do wool blends biodegrade?

You may have noticed, that some of the Core Merino product range uses a blend of wool and nylon. Nylon is a synthetic fibre made of crude oil which does not biodegrade. For these garments, biodegradation is not an option as the wool would biodegrade but the nylon would just break down into smaller pieces over a longer period of time. Therefore our NuYarn Core Merino range would be best for recycling. Our 100% merino wool garments could biodegrade, however, giving the garment a second life through recycling would also be the better option as it helps save resources. In the meantime, we are looking into new blends with other natural fibres so that we can create an even more sustainable product for you and our planet.

Wool and the magic 3 Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

When it comes to sustainable consumer behaviour many of us know the three Rs which stand for Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. If you need a little reminder, then watch Jack Johnson sing a lovely song about it.

In this blog post, we want to explore how garments made of wool can help us to reduce, reuse and recycle in an easy way.

Reduce the number of clothes needed

In our last blog post about the use phase, we already talked a little bit about how wool garments can help us reduce the use of water, energy and detergents.
We also discussed wool being a very durable fibre. This means wool garments last longer compared to garments made of other fibres. Wearing your wool garments for a long time helps you reduce the number of new clothes you need to buy.

In order to ensure that you wear your (wool) garments for as long as possible take a few things into consideration when choosing a new garment:

  • Quality – is the garment well made
  • Design – Is the design of the garment timeless or designed in such a way that I will be happy to wear it for several seasons?
  • Style and fit – does the garment really suit my body well, do I feel good in it when wearing it? Does the garment fit well, is it too big or too small?
  • Colour – is the colour suitable for my skin complexion? Can the colour be worn with many of my other wardrobe items? Will I like the colour for a long time?
  • Versatility – can I wear the garment to several different occasions? Running, hiking, leisure time, travel etc.?

Extend the life of your wool garment

The second R to help us reduce our environmental impact is ‘Reuse’ which also has several different aspects to consider.

Repair and extend the life of your garment

One way of extending the life of a garment is simply by repairing it whenever needed. Merino garments can sometimes get a little hole which can easily be stitched up. Alternatively, you could cover a hole with a little patch. If you don’t think you can repair your wool garment yourself find a local tailor who can help you extend the life of your beloved garment. You may think that a stitched up hole or cut in your garment might not look so nice. Try shifting your perspective and view each hole as something that makes your garment unique and special. Maybe you even got a certain hole during one of your outdoor adventures, then it is like a souvenir of that special moment with a story you will never forget.

Alter and update your garment

Sometimes our wool garments no longer fit well or we don’t like something about them anymore. Before throwing them out we can see if some alterations can make us love the garment again.
Maybe you started running in your merino wool garments which made you lose weight. Congratulations! But now you feel your garments are too baggy on you. Before throwing everything out and buying new clothes consult a tailor to see if your garments can be trimmed down to fit you well again. Are you not getting any use of that long sleeve garment? Ask your tailor to shorten the sleeves and you may enjoy your new t-shirt at a very little cost.

Reuse – give your garment a second and third life

Let’s face it, there are occasionally some garments which simply don’t fit into our lifestyle or wardrobe (anymore), no matter how hard we try. The best thing to do in this case is to find someone who will get joy out of your unloved items. As wool clothes are very durable they are perfect to hand off or resell to somebody where they will have a second or even third life. Research actually found that the percentage of wool garments being reused by someone else is much higher compared to garments made of other fibres.

Donate and hand me down

A simple way to extend the life of a wool garment is to hand it down to a family member or friend or donate it to your local charity shop.

Swop and resell

If you think your wool garment has a lot of value, you can also try selling it on ebay or similar second-hand e-commerce platforms. Some cities also have swapping communities or parties where you exchange your garment for another garment.

Recycle – new life in a different form

At some point of your wool garment’s life it will no longer be used and therefore disposed. However, wool garments should not just be thrown away into landfills but instead, be collected for recycling.
Wool fibre is well suited for recycling and a precious raw material for recycling companies. Different systems exist for wool recycling. One system cuts up the wool garments and creates so-called shoddy which is used in mattresses, insulation or simple felted blankets. Another system sorts wool garments by colour and mechanically shreds the garments into short wool fibres ready to be spun into recycled wool yarns.
Inform yourself where you can submit your wool garment for recycling within your community.

There you have it. This was our little guide on how you can reduce your own environmental impact by wearing wool. If you have some more ideas on how to take good care or provide a second life for your wool garment, then let us know, we would love to hear your ideas.

Reduce your own environmental impact with wool

We all love our (Core) merino wool garments because we love how comfortable wool makes us feel. However, at Core Merino we like to argue that there is another reason to love having wool in our closets and in our life: Wool helps us reduce our own environmental impact and therefore live a more sustainable life – something our planet urgently needs from all of us right now.

What do we mean by that? As you know, everything we humans do or use has an environmental impact in some way or the other. The same is true for our clothes as we need to regularly wash, dry and iron them. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) research shows that the use phase of our clothes has actually the highest environmental impact compared to the production and manufacturing stages of a garment.

The environmental impact comes from water and energy use as well as the use of detergents and other chemicals. Just think about how often you wash your clothes (e.g. after one wear) and other home textiles such as towels and bed linen?

The good news is, however, that the use phase is exactly where each and every one of us can get active to reduce our own environmental impact. And surprise, surprise, we can reduce our impact by wearing wool. Let’s dive into the details.

No need to wash – that often

The research identified that we typically wash our wool clothes less often compared to other clothes. On average a wool garment is worn 3 times before thrown in the washing machine compared to a cotton t-shirt being washed after 1,5 wears. The need to wash wool garments less often, is based on some of wool’s natural properties. Let’s have a closer look at some of them.

Wool is odour resistant

We hope you already noticed it, but if you haven’t let us tell you, that you will not so easily stink in your merino wool clothes. This is due to several characteristics of wool. First of all, wool moves heat and moisture away from your skin meaning less sweat can get in contact with the naturally existing bacteria on your skin. In addition, wool does not absorb nor release odours leaving your garments to smell less. If your wool garments don’t smell you can wear them multiple times before having to wash them.

Wool is stain resistant

Another cool characteristic of wool is that it is naturally stain resistant due to its hydrophobic properties. This means when you spill something like coffee or tomato sauce on your wool garment, the stain is not soaked in by wool but just sits on top of it. This makes it very easy to wipe off with a wet cloth. If you do get a little bit of a stain, tapping it with a wet cloth can often do the trick. Being easily able to avoid stains on your wool garment means you do not need to throw it into the wash that often.

Freshen up in air not water

Over the last few decades, we have become quite used to thinking that cleaning a garment from odours and stains means washing it in water. However, when it comes to wool, cleaning it with water is not always the best choice. The best cleaning method for wool is actually hanging in fresh air. Fresh air is the best way to remove odours from wool garments.

These three factors of odour and stain resistance in addition to cleaning wool in the fresh air lead to wool garments needing less washing. If you can get more wears out of your wool garments you will be able to save water, energy, washing liquids as well as money and your precious time.

Cleaning methods for wool

Another area to look into when trying to reduce our own environmental impact are the cleaning methods used. We already mentioned the advantage of air cleaning earlier on but wool also has its benefits when it comes to our home appliances.

Lower washing temperatures

Looking at the care label of your Core merino wool garments will show you that the recommended washing temperature is either cold or 30°C. Wash cycles on low temperatures use less energy, which is better for our climate.

Drying temperatures

The care label will also recommend that you do not tumble dry your Core merino garment but rather line or flat dry it. Tumble dryers use a very high amount of energy. Being able to save this will further reduce your own environmental impact.

Wool cycle

One more thing your care label will say is that the Core merino garment should be washed on a wool cycle, a feature most of today’s washing machines have. A wool cycle will run on lower temperatures as mentioned above but will also use less water and have a much shorter set time compared to other cycles. Less water and less time, meaning less energy used, will decrease your impact even further.

Durability

The last factor to look at when it comes to ways of reducing our environmental impact with wool is how long the garment will last. On average the lifespan of a wool t-shirt is 6 years, compared to 3.8 years of a cotton t-shirt. This is due to wool being a very durable fibre. It can be bent many times before it may break.

You may ask why durability is important when we wish to reduce our environmental impact? The longer garments last, the longer we can use them and do not need to replace them with a new garment. This saves additional resources and energy needed to produce the new garment. So while our business is to sell wool garments, we do hope you love, use and wear your Core merino garment for a very long time.

We hope this gives you some inspiration about what you can do for our planet by including more wool garments in your wardrobe. While there are many big environmental challenges we as a society need to solve, choosing clothes made of natural, long-lasting fibres like wool also helps our planet. As Vivienne Westwood once said: Choose well, choose wool.

Understanding Environmental Benchmarking Tools

When it comes to better understanding the environmental impacts of our clothes, it is a little bit of a jungle out there. So-called Environmental Benchmarking Tools are trying to assist us in making better environmental choices when we shop our clothes. Examples out there are the Higg Index of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition or the Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) of the European Union.

What is great about Environmental Benchmarking Tools?

Environmental Benchmarking Tools have developed methods to be able to compare different environmental impacts between different fibres like cotton, polyester or wool as well as various manufacturing processes. These methods use complicated calculations based on Life Cycle Assessment data which include chemicals, water and energy used along with other relevant environmental factors. The outcome is a simplified colour coded graph judging if a fibre or a specific garment is good or bad for the environment.

The idea behind these Environmental Benchmarking Tools is great as it helps consumers understand the impacts their clothing choices have while also assisting retail companies and their designers to improve their textile supply chains.

Caution recommended

However, there is also some caution and a little bit of more background knowledge needed when using these Environmental Benchmarking Tools especially when it comes to wool fibre.

Momentarily, the majority of the Environmental Benchmarking Tools do not take the impacts of the full supply chain into account. Often data is only used starting on farm up to the wool fabric manufacturing stage. Impacts that are not included for example are the use phase as well as the disposal phase. The reason for leaving these stages out is often that there is not enough data or knowledge about these stages.

Wool use and disposal phase should count

When it comes to assessing the environmental impacts of wool however, the impacts during the use and disposal phase are very low compared to many of the other fibres. Wool garments, for example, are washed less often, are washed at lower temperatures, used longer and often are handed down to other family members. At the end of a wool garment’s life, it is very often recycled or can biodegrade.

If these special attributes of wool are not taken into account when assessing the environmental impacts, then the results of the benchmarking tools are inaccurate. Wool, compared to other fibres, has a relatively high carbon footprint on farm. However, this becomes relative if a wool garment then lasts longer compared to a synthetic or cotton garment.

As we mentioned before, there is a lot of work and research going on in the space of measuring environmental impacts as it is vital for our planet for us to better understand how we can reduce our product footprint. As this space further develops and matures we will see more and more accurate results. In the meantime we just want you to be aware that not everything is straightforward and accurate when it comes to understanding the true environmental impacts of our garments and the fibres they are made of.