British Christmas partygoers could be paying an unexpected environmental cost after a survey revealed the full extent of how much money is spent on items specifically for the festive season – and the toll they take on nature.
Environmental charity Hubbub spoke to more than 3,000 people in the United Kingdom and found the average spend was more than 73 pounds ($97), with one in five saying they would not wear the outfit more than once, and men spending more than women.
Hubbub also analyzed 169 party dresses from 17 different clothing retailers and found that 94 percent were either partly or fully made from plastic or plastic-derived fabrics.
“Going green doesn’t mean you can’t dress up,” says Sarah Divall, project coordinator at Hubbub.
“There are so many eco-friendly options out there now, including clothes swaps, renting, pre-loved and charity stores, so you can look stunning and save money without damaging the planet.
“Vintage and pre-loved clothing has never been so on trend and it’s only going to get bigger, as people realize the massive environmental impact of the fashion industry.”
Diva Stoilova, a shop manager for company Beyond Retro which rescues items of clothing from landfill and restyles them, told Sky News retailers must”do their bit”.
“You name it, we’ve got it. With bells, without bells, with animals, without…,” she said.
“It’s just much easier to buy something second hand or something ‘upcycled’. This way you don’t just produce new stuff to spend money on. We do encourage people to save their jumpers or we give them nice ideas of how they can restyle jumpers themselves in the future.”
Christmas jumper days have become a fixture in many British workplaces and schools, but an inevitable consequence is large numbers of items being produced and bought, but barely worn.
“Two-thirds of us own at least one Christmas jumper and one-third own more than one”, said a statement on the Hubbub website. “Bring last year’s jumper out for another wear, or pass it on if you’re not planning on wearing it again.”
The country’s annual expenditure on Christmas clothing is almost 2.5 billion pounds, adding huge impetus to the fast fashion industry, which has already come in for much criticism for the environmental damage it causes.
Earlier this year, a UK parliamentary committee report highlighted how the textile industry creates 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, and consumes vast quantities of water, as well as being responsible for an estimated 35 percent of the microplastics found in the world’s oceans.