There is a rather alarming article in the Guardian today about the waste created by the Christmas Jumper. The article, entitled “Christmas jumpers add to plastic pollution crisis, says charity” points out that “12m jumpers are set to be snapped up this year, despite 65m already languishing in UK wardrobes.”
I don’t know how much this tradition carries over into other countries, but Britains are in love with the novelty Christmas jumper. (For those unfamiliar with the term, a “jumper” is what Americans would call a “sweater”.) At least a third of people under 35 will buy a new novelty Christmas jumper every year, and will likely wear it only once. We even have a Christmas Jumper Day – Friday December 13th this year – which supports the charity Save the Children. Millions of people will search for the newest and silliest novelty jumper to wear on that day.
The article cites research by the environmental charity Hubbub, that 95% of these garments are made wholly or partly from plastic. A full 44% were made entirely from acrylic. The article notes a recent study that found “that acrylic was responsible for releasing nearly 730,000 microfibres per wash, five times more than polyester-cotton blend fabric and nearly 1.5 times as many as pure polyester.”
The message to consumers from Sarah Divall of Hubbub:
“We don’t want to stop people dressing up and having a great time at Christmas but there are so many ways to do this without buying new. Fast fashion is a major threat to the natural world and Christmas jumpers are problematic as so many contain plastic. We’d urge people to swap, buy secondhand or rewear, and remember a jumper is for life not just for Christmas.”
I would suggest an additional way to save the environment: knit your own Christmas jumper, and then wear it many times. Keep it forever! I also don’t see why Christmas jumpers are supposed to be “ugly”. Perhaps if you had a beautiful Christmas jumper, you might wear it more than once! I picked out some lovely Christmas sweater ideas in this post two year ago. Here are a few more:
Tidings by Vicky Sedgwick:
Branches & Buds Pullover by Carrie Bostick Hoge:
Thorvald by Arne & Carlos:
Vinterskov by Karie Westermann:
Remember, a jumper is for life!