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Consumers hold the power to influence clothing’s sustainability

How often clothes are worn is the most influential factor in determining environmental impacts from clothing, according to the world’s first peer-reviewed textile fibre cradle-to-grave LCA study.

Why is garment lifespan important?

The purpose of clothing is to be worn and the more often it is worn over its lifetime, the more completely it fulfils its purpose. This world-first study calculated the lifetime impacts of the garment per single wear event and found the duration of garment lifetime was the most influential factor determining the impact of woollen garments.

The total number of wears was estimated to be 109. However, if this garment was disposed of after only one season, or 15 uses, this would result in a 5.8- to 6.8-fold increase in environmental impacts and resource use.

Increasing the total number of wears to 400 reduced environmental impacts by 49 to 68%, indicating substantial improvements are possible if a garment’s lifetime is extended.


4 reasons wool lasts longer

Quality clothing in use for longer periods needs to be replaced less often, reducing the need for new resources to manufacture replacement clothing.

  1. Wool’s natural resistance to odour, stains and wrinkles means wool clothes require less washing. This not only saves time and money - on energy and water bills - but it also preserves the as-new look and feel of the garment, enabling consumers to continue wearing it.
  2. Wool represents just 1.3% of the global textile market. Yet studies show the donation rate of wool is high, at about 5% demonstrating wool garments may have many lives and continue to be in use, long after the original owner.
  3. According to a global wardrobe audit, the average lifetime of wool garments was more than 50% longer than cotton garments, reinforcing the importance of accounting for the use phase in LCA studies.
  4. Wool is a natural and renewable fibre which requires less washing and is frequently recycled, extending its use phase even further. In addition, wool fibres are 100% biodegradable in both land and marine environments and do not contribute to microplastic pollution.



Wool is biodegradable

When wool is disposed of, it will naturally decompose in soil in a matter of months or years, slowly releasing valuable nutrients back into the earth.
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Fact sheets

Wool is naturally breathable

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Wool fibres can absorb large quantities of moisture vapour and allow it to evaporate, making wool garments feel less clingy and more comfortable.
Fact sheets

Wool is not an allergen

Science shows wool is not an allergen, with superfine Merino wool textiles and clothes not causing any itch and may benefit eczema management.

Wool is naturally odour resistant

Wool garments and textiles are naturally odour resistant due to the fibre’s unique properties and chemical structure.