Ok we broke the seal and said the 'C' word, but for good reason; as Black Friday looms large, our guest blogger, Joanne Radway, gives us the low down on the icon of fast fashion: The Christmas jumper.
As a former Policy Advisor for IWTO (International Wool Textile Organisation) in Brussels, Joanne knows her cashmere from her merino and with Christmas Jumper Day fast approaching (Friday 13th December), she's found some concerning facts about this festive staple.
With December upon us, perhaps now is the time to reflect on the increasing throw-away culture of Christmas. Buying a shiny new, be-baubled, festive jumper year on year, may be a brief office talking-point or a nostalgic family tradition, but its impact on our environment is much longer lasting.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation recently found that greenhouse emissions from the fast fashion market, as a whole, creates 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse emissions a year – more than international flights and shipping combined.
The use of precious natural resources, potential pollution of air, land and water, filling up landfills and social impacts for those making garments (use of child labour, low wages and unhealthy working conditions) are all problematic side-effects of this Christmas tradition.
Did you know?
An estimated 10 million people are likely to buy a Christmas jumper with a whopping 40% then thrown away or not worn again (WasteAid UK)
Thirty percent of under 35 year olds buy a new Xmas jumper each year (Hubbub)
Although Christmas Jumper Day began as a fundraising charity campaign, only a small proportion of the £200-300 million made each year reaches any charity. If it did, an astounding £3 billion could be raised for good causes in just ten years (WasteAid UK)
Hang on! This isn’t making me feel very festive. Fear not! All is not lost - there are plenty of ways to be dressed appropriately for the festive season without falling foul of your new years' resolutions.
Here are some sustainable Christmas jumper tips:
Wear your Christmas jumper for longer – Not only re-use the one you bought last year – wear it over the whole festive period. I've calculated you could easily get 36 days wear (from the first day of advent to the 12th day of Christmas on 6th January). Or be a trend-setter and wear it in Spring and Autumn.
Sell, swap or give away: Sell last year’s on a local selling site or Ebay, organise a Christmas jumper swapping party at your local school, library, townhall or sports centre or donate to a charity shop.
If an item is damaged, fix it – or if beyond repair, take it to a textile recycling bank at your local supermarket or recycling centre. No textile should ever enter a landfill.
If you have to buy new, consider your choice. Purchasing a cheap, low quality jumper is unlikely to keep its shape or survive numerous washes. Consider buying a better-quality jumper made from natural fibres; you get what you pay for.