Christmas jumper craze ‘bad for the environment’, warns charity
Shoppers and retailers are being told to “consider the environment” as research estimates 12 million Christmas jumpers will be bought this year in the UK.
A study by environmental charity Hubbub found many Christmas jumpers are worn only once – and there are already 65 million stashed away in our wardrobes from previous years.
The research looked at 108 jumpers from 11 online and high street retailers and found 95% were made wholly or partly of plastic.
Making clothes is resource intensive, requiring land, water and manpower as well as fossil fuels and chemicals.
Some of the fibres can also pollute oceans and rivers and enter the food chain.
Sarah Divall, creative partner at Hubbub, said consumers are often “unaware” of the damage their shopping may be causing to the environment.
“A lot of people are concerned about plastics in the oceans but they don’t realise that the stuff they are wearing also has plastic in it as well,” said Ms Divall.
“You should still enjoy Christmas, no one is saying that this means that you don’t get to have fun.
“There’s a way you can join in: wear a Christmas jumper but swap it or see what you have in the cupboard, or see if you can borrow a friend’s so you don’t have to go out, spend loads of money and buy something new that you’re probably only going to wear once.”
Vintage retailer Beyond Retro prides itself on selling ethical Christmas clothing. They recover jumpers from landfill sites and festively re-style them for sale in store and online.
Store manager Diva Stoilova said retailers must “do their bit”.
“You name it, we’ve got it. With bells, without bells, with animals, without…
“As we all know, our climate is in a bit of a crisis so we’re trying to do our bit, and it’s just much easier to buy something second hand or something ‘upcycled’. This way you don’t just produce new stuff to spend money on.
“We do encourage people to save their jumpers or we give them nice ideas of how they can restyle jumpers themselves in the future.
“We also encourage people to not use paper and instead use a biodegradable scarf to wrap their presents in. We are really trying our best.”
Earlier this year, research by Oxfam estimated that more two tonnes of clothing are brought in the UK every minute and each week 11 million garments end up in landfill.
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