In the United Kingdom alone, 206 tonnes of textile waste is disposed of each year, with a large proportion of this going to landfill. Sadly, out of the 3.1kg textile waste each Briton produces, only 0.3kg is recycled and 0.4kg is reused and we think we can do a lot better.
Changing all consumer behaviour can be difficult but finding out how you can help is easy! That’s why we want to shout about the fantastic eco properties of merino wool this Recycling Week.
Read on to find out how investing in merino wool can help us to reduce, reuse and recycle in an easy way.
You may have already heard of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) which can be used to monitor the stages of a product i.e. from manufacturing to the disposal of a garment. For clothes, typically it has a high environmental impact during the use phase of LCA compared to production and manufacturing due to water and energy usage. It may not come as much of a surprise if you think about how often we wash and use detergents and other chemicals, especially on our baby garments!
Merino helps to reduce this environmental impact – how? Well, experts have confirmed that typically we wash our wool clothes a lot less often than other textile-based garments such as cotton. Merino wool’s temperature regulating properties means throughout day and night, your baby is neither too hot nor too cold. It’s moisture wicking properties means there is little chance your baby will overheat or sweat too, and wool is naturally anti-bacterial meaning your garments will smell less, stay cleaner for longer and ultimately need to be washed less.
In fact, if you want to clean your wool, using water isn’t always the best choice. Instead, wool is naturally odour and stain resistant with the best method for cleaning - hanging in fresh air, meaning you can save water, energy, and money on washing. If you do choose to wash merino wool garments, it is recommended to wash at a low temperature of 30°C and do not tumble dry. Some washing machines even feature a ‘wool’ setting that will use less time and water than other modes meaning the whole wash process of wool uses a very small amount of energy.
If you no longer have use for your merino wool, either your baby has grown out of their size or it simply doesn’t fit into your lifestyle anymore, it is a great fabric to reuse! As a durable fibre, merino wool is great to hand down to someone else or resell where they will have a second or even third life!
At Natural Baby Shower we’ve teamed up with our friends at Stripey Stork for our Bags of Love charity donation scheme. Stripey Stork is a volunteer led charity based in Surrey with the mission to support parents in hardship. The Bags of Love charity project provides essential items to these families is need and the concept is simple; you can help by donating your freshly washed, pre-loved, any-branded sleeping bag, that will go directly to a baby in need. In return, you will receive a 25% off code for a brand-new Merino Kids sleeping bag.
Alternatively second-hand commerce platforms are a great place to sell your unwanted garments, or you can visit your local charity shop. Not only will you be helping the planet, but the lucky buyer will also receive a great quality garment at a discounted price.
Like most products, your wool garments life cycle will – at some point - come to an end and therefore disposed. If you think your merino wool product is at its end, don’t throw it away – instead, it can be collected for recycling!
As a precious raw material for recycling companies’ wool fibres are perfect. There are several ways wool is recycled, one system turns wool fibres into a material called ‘shoddy’ often used in mattresses, insulation or felt blankets. Alternatively, wool can be shredded back into yarn and re-spun to make recycled wool garments.
If you’re unsure where to recycle your beloved merino wool, contact your local council for information on recycling points for certain fabrics, otherwise a quick search on the web should present some handy sites to help!