The holiday season is a time for many to don their favorite sweaters and get cozy. But experts say that the rising popularity of these holiday-themed sweaters is causing us some serious environmental impacts.
It seems that every year, ugly xmas sweater competitions and parties are starting to become more and more popular. It is a festive occasion for many to unwind and have fun, but research has shown that most people only wear their xmas sweater once, only to be disposed or stashed away afterwards.
In a survey in the UK, 24% out of more than 3,000 respondents say that they do not want to be seen wearing the same sweater that they wore the previous year, and 29% say that they get a new one every year because of the cheap prices. This puts one in every four sweaters to be thrown away or never worn again. Additionally, 35% explained that since they only wore the sweaters once, these are often good as new.
Experts explain that it results to some clothes that are still in good condition to be thrown away. The cumulative effect of these wastes can fill up landfills and generates 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse emissions every year.
Researchers further explain that people should reflect on this throwaway culture and how it affects the environment. Sarah Divall from Hubbub, an environmental charity organization, explains that it is a sign of our addiction to fast fashion— cheap clothes that people only wear once and disposed simply because buying new ones is cheap. She and the rest of the organization encourage people to swap or donate these sweaters instead of throwing them away.
The environmental impact of fast fashion is a serious matter. The industry is considered one of the major factors in depleting non-renewable resources, using massive amounts of energy, water, and chemicals. The process also emits a large quantity of greenhouse gases, which aggravate the overall environmental condition of the planet. Polyester, acrylic, and nylon, which are synthetic fibers often used in fast fashion also take thousands of years to decay, causing a huge problem in pollution.
Washing clothes made with synthetic fibers is also discovered to be harmful. In a 2011 study, researchers found out that a single piece of synthetic clothing can produce up to 1,900 micro plastic fibers in one washing alone.