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ARE YOUR CLOTHES POLLUTING THE OCEAN?

In News

AIRING YOUR DIRTY LAUNDRY

Is your laundry dirtier than you think it is?

It’s an odd question, considering that the word “laundry” indicates dirty clothes that need to be washed. But soiled clothes are only one part of the laundry cycle.

In fact, just how dirty a garment is, starts even before the item is made. It starts with the choice in material used to create it. So let’s just start there to dig up the real dirt on this seemingly never-ending household chore.

WHERE IT ALL BEGINS

Just how “dirty” your laundry is, starts even before your garment is made. The truth is, it’s the fiber content that will determine the sustainability and impact of your garments overall. What your clothing is made of determines how long it lasts, its energy consumption and water usage when washing, and the amount of microplastics it sheds with every load of laundry over its lifetime.

There are two types of fibers, those from natural sources like animals, plants or mineral sources, that do not require fiber formation. And then there are synthetic or manufactured (man-made) fibers that are made into fiber from chemical compounds called polymers. These fibers have to be produced in manufacturing facilities - where the pollution into the air and water begins.

BAA BAA CLEAN SHEEP

For many who are passionate about reversing the damage of climate change, wool has long been a climate positive fiber choice for a host of reasons. One of which is less washing.

This is important because laundry frequency is the single most influential factor of the environmental impacts per wear between garment types, according to a recent study in the peer reviewed journal Sustainability

If that doesn’t give it street cred, it at least should give it sheep cred. In addition, wool is 100% natural, renewable and biodegradable, wool is thermo-regulating, easy to care for, and naturally resilient, so as a garment, it lasts for years.

Let’s look at the other environmentally positive benefits of wool:

1.  Wool uses less energy and water than other fibers.

Wool uses 18% less energy than polyester and nearly 70% less water than cotton to produce 100 sweaters. Additionally, the fact it requires less washing, makes it the hands down winner.

2.  Wool is a part of the natural carbon cycle

Many textiles and fibers are made from carbon-based products, meaning they add to the CO2 in the environment, which is a contributing factor of climate change. Wool, on the other hand, is made from renewable atmospheric carbon, meaning it removes carbon from the environment. 

By comparison, the carbon in synthetic fibers, such as polyester or acrylic, is extracted from fossil fuels, which adds CO2 into the environment.

3.  No microplastics shed - EVER.

Wool is 100% biodegradable and does not shed microplastics when washed, unlike the half a million for polyester and 750,000 from acrylic, for every load of wash.

4.  Wool is 100% Natural, renewable and biodegradable

No other fiber natural or man-made, can match all of wool’s naturally inherent benefits - odor resistant, anti-microbial, resilient, thermo-regulating, luxuriously soft, and recyclable.

INVISIBLE DIRT

But this isn’t just about wool. We’re talking about dirty laundry, and there is a dirty little secret that synthetics and even some natural and non-organic fibers, are hiding.  And that is, toxic chemicals.

Chemicals are used during the fiber production, dyeing, bleaching and wet processing of synthetic fast fashion clothing. That’s a 36 billion dollar industry that uses over 8,000 synthetic chemicals in the various processes that turn raw material into fabrics.

And that’s even before the garments are made. 

Even many natural fibers are guilty of pulling the wool over consumer’s eyes. 

Take for example, the natural industry’s other darling, non-organic cotton, which must be distinguished from organic cotton - the kind Nui Organics uses.

Non-organic cotton may seem natural, but is responsible for 10% of the entire world’s pesticides and 25% of the world’s insecticides. 

Dig even deeper, and you will find some non-organic wool is chlorine processed - a process Nui Organics does NOT use but most non-organic wool garments do. 

 

A CLEAN START

The future of reversing climate change is a complex topic, but we can all agree, fast and progressive effort must be made to make a dent in the future of the environment.

Knowing that change can start in your own home, is empowering. By shopping with intention, seeking natural and organic fibers that are climate positive and zero waste, you are contributing to a healthier and cleaner future for people and the planet.

By less frequent laundering needed for wool clothing, you will save water, energy, detergent and time! Additionally, surveys also show consumers of wool are much more likely to donate or recycle wool clothing - not only because they are nicer people (we may be a bit biased!) but because wool is so resilient, a wool article of clothing looks just as good years later, as it did on the first day.

Self empowerment is empowering. Knowing your small but impactful choices will, ultimately, make a difference in the long run, empowers each of us to create change for the future of our planet. For our children, our families, and our future lives, a clean start is a big thing and one you can make, starting today.

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