Are you aware that synthetic fibres are made from fossil fuels? The Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), one of the International Wool Textile Organisation’s (IWTO) members and partners, recently launched a campaign specially designed to help people understand the link between fossil fuels and synthetic fibres – and the effect that they both have on the environment.
Devised by AWI’s marketing arm, The Woolmark Company, the campaign highlights the hidden impact of synthetic fibres on the environment, and how choosing natural fibres such as wool can help reduce that impact.
What You Wear Can Make a Difference
Research conducted by The Woolmark Company shows that more than one third of global consumers are willing to pay for sustainable products and services. However, as people contemplate their sustainability choices, looking at alternative energy sources, greener groceries, and other options, one factor that seldom features is buying more sustainable clothing.
The Link Between Fossil Fuels, Synthetic Fibres, and the Environment
Synthetic fibres, which include polyester, nylon and acrylic, are made from fossil fuel. The consumption of these and other fossil-fuel based fibres has increased steadily every year since the 1980s, so that today, synthetics make up 70% of the total global fibre market.
It is estimated that every 25 minutes, enough oil to fill an Olympic swimming pool is used to make synthetic textiles.
By purchasing fabrics made from these textiles, we contribute to the use of oil, with all the accompanying implications for the environment.
“The impact these clothes have during the use and end of life stages of their lifetime cannot be underestimated,” says AWI’s CEO John Roberts.
You Have a Choice
In contrast to fossil fuel-based fibres, wool is 100% renewable and biodegradable. Wool clothing lasts longer than synthetic clothing and when it does reach the end of its life cycle, wool clothing can be recycled, upcycled, renewed or simply allowed to return to the earth.
Being a completely natural fibre, wool also does not contribute to microplastics pollution, one of the most urgent issues facing the world today. The equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles’ worth of microplastic fibres enter the world’s wastewater every year from washing synthetic clothing.
All garments shed fibres during wear and care, but science shows that wool fibres biodegrade in both land and marine environments, so we know that wool does not contribute to microplastic pollution.
Learn More About Wool Sustainability with IWTO
Wool Sustainability touches a number of subjects including traceability, life cycle assessment, biodegradability, and much more.
Start here to learn more about Wool Sustainability.