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It may seem like a drop in the ocean but opting for wool products can have a positive impact on the planet.

Whilst it has been known for decades that wool biodegrades in soil, adding nutrients back to the earth, more recent studies have shown that wool also biodegrades in the ocean and water, and so does not impact the planet with microfibre and plastic pollution. An important message for wool in the current awareness and concern for the planet, and how ‘we’ as individuals can ‘each’ help to reduce this impact. 

New research has revealed that 44% of the public are completely unaware that microfibres – the microscopic fibres released into our waterways when we wash our clothes – often end up in our food and that we are effectively eating our own clothes.  An estimated 35% of primary microplastics entering our oceans are released through the washing of textiles and studies have found these fibres in our food – from mussels and table salt to honey and beer.  Plastic microfibres absorb toxic chemicals and the long-term health impact of consuming these fibres has yet to be fully established.  

Synthetic clothing is on the rise and now accounts for around 60% of all clothing produced, a survey of over 2,000 people across the UK showed 44% of people don’t realise that synthetic fibres such as polyester, acrylic or nylon are actually plastic. Half a million tonnes of plastic microfibres a year contribute to ocean pollution.

As our Patron His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales said recently, “I find it sobering to think that almost all the plastic ever produced is still here somewhere on the planet in one form or another and will remain here for centuries to come, possibly thousands of years. A good start has been made. The matter of plastic debris in the environment, in particular the ocean, is now on the agenda. We do, however, need to keep it there as the amount of plastic entering the ocean every year is, unbelievably, set to get worse rather than better. We cannot, indeed must not, allow this situation to continue. A solution is achievable and simply has to be done for all our sakes – and, above all, for the long-term viability of all those species in the sea which are already suffering unbearably because of our actions.”

Nicholas Coleridge, Chairman of the Campaign for Wool, added: “Plastic in the ocean is the most emotive, most horrifying environmental issue of the day. The fact that wool biodegrades in sea water in a short time, while plastic bobs around forever, tells you everything you need to know about their relative qualities. As so often, Wool is the right and natural choice.”

Peter Ackroyd, Chief Operating Officer for the Campaign for Wool, said: “Take care of wool and wool will take care of you. It is not only good for the planet but also good for your health. It is really easy to look after, requires less laundering due to its natural cleansing and stain repellent properties. Investing in wool will give back lots in return – not just in terms of comfort but also in longevity and cost per wear. Switching to wool would reduce land and sea-fill waste, whilst also reducing energy and water use.  We would urge consumers to check clothing labels when shopping and look for natural fabrics that do not pollute the environment.”

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