Use phase of wool apparel: a literature review for improving LCA


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IOS Press

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This paper presents results from a literature review on use phase of clothing with focus on wool. The aim of the review is to study if there is empirical grounding for assuming that the use phase is different for clothes made of different fibres, and if this information could be used in modelling the use phase. We will answer this question based on studies on wool, and see if use of woollen garments gives different environmental impact than use of garments made of other fibres. The results show significant differences in how garments of different materials are maintained and used. Woollen garments are more likely to be either dry-cleaned or washed by hand than other textiles, and if washed in machine, the temperature is commonly about ten degrees lower than average washing temperature in Europe. Woollen garments are less likely to be dried in a clothes drier. Even the washing frequency differs, as woollen products are used about twice as many days between the washes than similar cotton products. The studies indicated that woollen garments had longer than average lifespans. We conclude that fibre content contributes to the way consumers take care of and use their clothing, and should be taken into consideration in tools developed for comparing the sustainability of garments of various textile materials.




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