Christmas is drawing ever closer, the smell of pine and the sound of Christmas songs playing in the shops surround us, building the excitement for the festive period. In recent years, the Christmas jumper trend has become increasingly popular. It is estimated that we Brits will buy up to 12 million new Christmas Jumpers before the Big Day this year, and 1 in 3 under 35’s buy a new Christmas jumper every year!1
Once we’ve donned our tasteful polyester garments, and posed for the obligatory cheesy family photos, what happens to our new found fashion statements? Hopefully, they will be stored in the back of our wardrobes and used again year after year. However, we have become a throwaway society where it is extremely cheap and convenient to replace our Christmas jumpers on a yearly basis. People take out their previous jumper(s) and decide they need a new one this year – and then dispose of the old one. Sometimes, it might be donated to a charity shop, which will give it a new lease of life. But all too often, it ends up in the bin, adding to the enormous amount of waste generated generally over the festive season in landfill or being incinerated. If they end up in landfill, being made from plastic fibres such as polyester or acrylic, these items may not rot down for hundreds of years, contributing further to our plastic pollution problems.
OK, enough doom and gloom. After a successful trial at a local school last year, this year we decided to organise a national Christmas jumper swap. We’ve had schools from as far away as Northern Ireland and Edinburgh taking part. Although we don’t have an official figure yet as to how many Christmas jumpers have saved from landfill, we hope it’s in the hundreds. With more swap events set to take place over the coming days and weeks we hope that this figure will rise. A lot of the schools that have taken part charge a small fee for the swap (a lot cheaper than buying a new jumper) and those funds either go back to the school organising the event or to a charity of their choice – so it’s a double whammy of keeping those jumpers out of our waste systems, and raising money for good causes.
We hope to make this an annual event, not only in schools but work places and businesses across the country. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could make a dent in that 12 million brand new jumper figure?
From all of us at the Final Straw Solent we hope you have a merry and peaceful Christmas, enjoy those festive jumpers and save them for next year to be swapped or worn again. Are you planning any green New Year Resolutions? Let us know.
1. Environmental Charity, Hubbub. https://issuu.com/hubbubuk/docs/hubbub_christmas_jumpers_2019.12.06_press_release?fr=sZTUzNDU1NDE1NQ