New Zealand-based natural performance apparel company, icebreaker, released the fourth instalment of its annual Transparency Report with a major focus on its plastic-free initiative.

For more than 26 years, icebreaker has worked with what nature provides to create natural, high-performing outdoor clothing as an alternative to plastic-based synthetic apparel. In 2017, icebreaker launched its Transparency Report detailing what it means to be a truly sustainable business and in 2019, the brand announced its boldest ambition to date: to become plastic-free.

A major highlight in this year’s Transparency Report reveals that in 2021, 91 percent of icebreaker’s total fibre composition is now merino or plant-based, with 65 percent more styles (vs 2020) being made with 100 percent merino or plant-based fibres. In 2021 alone, icebreaker forecasts to sell more than 1.3 million units of 100 percent merino or plant-based apparel.

With national estimates suggesting that consumers keep clothing items about half as long as they did 15 years ago and fast fashion companies doubling and even tripling production, it is no surprise that the amount of plastics and synthetic materials in the apparel industry has multiplied.

Fragments from textiles and apparel can be a significant contributor to environmental pollution. According to a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, plastic particles washed off from products such as synthetic clothes and textiles contribute to 35 percent of primary microplastics polluting our oceans.

icebreaker’s commitment to becoming plastic-free is vital as a result of COVID-19. The pandemic disrupted life as we know it and it skyrocketed the use of single-use plastic consumption as more consumers shopped online, purchased disposable protective gear, and opted for bagged or wrapped produce and other grocery items.

Among the recent key highlights of the icebreaker Transparency Report are:

  • 91 percent of its fiber composition is merino wool or plant-based
  • The best-selling Tech Lite tee moves to 100 percent merino
  • The best-selling Quantum mid layer moves to 100 percent merino
  • The new ZoneKnit hoodie is made from 100 percent merino icebreaker forecasts to sell over 1.3million units of 100 percent merino or plant-based apparel

As icebreaker doubles down on the final 9 percent of plastics in its clothing, it faces some specific challenges. The synthetic fibres that remain in the range, and which are still derived from petrochemicals include elastane in underwear for stretch, nylon in socks for strength, and polyester in jackets for lightweight strength.

Source: InsideOutdoor Magazine