Product lifetime in European and Norwegian policies

Nina Heidenstrøm, Pål Strandbakken, Vilde Haugrønning og Kirsi Laitala

Sammendrag

Formålet med denne rapporten er å få en bedre forståelse av hvordan produktlevetid har blitt posisjonert i politikken de siste tjue årene. Ved bruk av dokumentanalyse undersøker vi forekomsten og kontekstualiseringen av produktlevetid i EUs sirkulærøkonomipolitikk, norske partiprogrammer og offisielle dokumenter, dokumenter fra norske miljøorganisasjoner, forbrukerorganisasjoners politikk og produktpolitikk. Samlet finner vi at det er lite fokus på produktlevetid mellom 2000-2015, menat det har vært en stor økning i fokus de siste fem årene. Imidlertid er det fremdeles lang vei å gå i arbeidet med å utvikle tiltak som faktisk adresserer produktlevetid.

Klikk her for å else hele rapporten på engelsk (oda.oslomet.no).

WOOLUME: Mapping the market for acoustic and sound absorbing products made of wool

Anna Schytte Sigaard og Vilde Haugrønning

Sammendrag

Denne rapporten er første leveranse fra arbeidspakke 2 i WOOLUME-prosjektet. Hovedmålet med WOOLUME er å utforske ulike måter å bruke ull fra polske fjellsau for å oppnå bedre utnyttelse av ressurser og økt verdiskaping. Målet med rapporten har vært å kartlegge markedet for akustiske og lydabsorberende produkter laget av ull for å undersøke potensialet for å innføre grov ull som materiale. Dette er gjort gjennom skrivebordsundersøkelser og intervjuer med fokus på ullens egenskaper som et naturlig produkt. Funnene viser at selv om menneskeskapte materialer som polyester dominerer på markedet for akustiske produkter på grunn av lavere priser, foretrekkes ull som materiale på grunn av dets naturlige egenskaper i tillegg til det estetiske. Produsenter som bruker ull anser produktene sine som eksklusive, hvor målgruppen er kunder som ønsker produkter av god kvalitet og som er villige til å betale en høyere pris for å oppnå dette. Imidlertid er det få produsenter som bruker grov ull i disse produktene, og mange er laget av ren merinoull. Bruk av merinoull som ofte anses å være av svært fin kvalitet på grunn av det lave mikronantallet samsvarer ikke med idealet om god ressursutnyttelse. Derfor foreslår vi å bruke grov ull som i dag bare blir kastet som biprodukt til kjøttproduksjon. Merino kan i stedet brukes til produkter der finhet og mykhet er viktigere egenskaper, som for eksempel i klær. I tillegg argumenterer vi for at råheten og unikheten ved grov ull er positivt med tanke på estetikk og noe som styrker posisjonen til ullakustiske produkter som eksklusive.

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Reducing environmental impacts from garments through best practice garment use and care, using the example of a Merino wool sweater

Stephen G. Weidemann, Leo Briggs, Quan V. Nguyen, Simon J. Clarke, Kirsi Laitala and Ingun G. Klepp

Abstract

Purpose

Garment production and use generate substantial environmental impacts, and the care and use are key determinants of cradle-to-grave impacts. The present study investigated the potential to reduce environmental impacts by applying best practices for garment care combined with increased garment use. A wool sweater is used as an example because wool garments have particular attributes that favour reduced environmental impacts in the use phase.

Methods

A cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment (LCA) was used to compare six plausible best and worst-case practice scenarios for use and care of a wool sweater, relative to current practices. These focussed on options available to consumers to reduce impacts, including reduced washing frequency, use of more efficient washing machines, reduced use of machine clothing dryers, garment reuse by multiple users, and increasing number of garment wears before disposal. A sixth scenario combined all options. Worst practices took the worst plausible alternative for each option investigated. Impacts were reported per wear in Western Europe for climate change, fossil energy demand, water stress and freshwater consumption.

Results and discussion

Washing less frequently reduced impacts by between 4 and 20%, while using more efficient washing machines at capacity reduced impacts by 1 to 6%, depending on the impact category. Reduced use of machine dryer reduced impacts by < 5% across all indicators. Reusing garments by multiple users increased life span and reduced impacts by 25–28% across all indicators. Increasing wears from 109 to 400 per garment lifespan had the largest effect, decreasing impacts by 60% to 68% depending on the impact category. Best practice care, where garment use was maximised and care practices focussed on the minimum practical requirements, resulted in a ~ 75% reduction in impacts across all indicators. Unsurprisingly, worst-case scenarios increased impacts dramatically: using the garment once before disposal increased GHG impacts over 100 times.

Conclusions

Wool sweaters have potential for long life and low environmental impact in use, but there are substantial differences between the best, current and worst-case scenarios. Detailed information about garment care and lifespans is needed to understand and reduce environmental impacts. Opportunities exist for consumers to rapidly and dramatically reduce these impacts. The fashion industry can facilitate this through garment design and marketing that promotes and enables long wear life and minimal care.

Click here to read the full article (springer.com).

Increasing repair of household appliances, mobile phones and clothing: Experiences from consumers and the repair industry

Kirsi Laitala, Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Vilde Haugrønning, Harald Throne-Holst & Pål Strandbakken

Abstract

Increasing product lifespans is one of the most effective environmental strategies and therefore repair is a part of the circular economy approach that aims to keep products and materials longer in use. This article explores drivers and barriers for repair from consumers’ and commercial repair actors view-points, in order to understand how the repair rates of household appliances, mobile phones and clothing could be increased.

The study is based on a consumer survey of 1196 respondents in Norway, and 15qualitative interviews with actors in the commercial repair industry working with repairs of household consumer goods. A surprisingly high share of repairs was conducted by consumers themselves. The main barrier is the consistently low price of new products, and often of poor quality, which contributes to low profitability in repair work for businesses and low motivation from consumers. Furthermore, access to competent personnel is a major challenge for the repair industry, a need which is expected to increase in the coming years.

Both the industry and consumers agree that better quality of products is a starting point for increased product lifespans, and this will also increase the motivation and the number of profitable repairs. These results have political implications on how to promote longer product lifespans through repair such as increased utilization and knowledge of consumers’ complaint and warranty rights.

Click here to read the full article (sciencedirect.com).

Barn og unges forbruk: Klær, mat og kropp

Bahr Bugge, Silje Elisabeth Skuland, Kamilla Knutsen Steinnes og Helene Fiane Teigen

Sammendrag

Denne rapporten, som i hovedsak er basert på en spørreundersøkelse om barn, klær, mat og kropp blant foreldre med barn i alderen 1-16 år, beskriver barn og unges forbruk av klær og mat og hvordan de forholder seg til kropp, helse og miljø. Undersøkelsen viser at mange foreldre gir klær til gjenbruk, men en mindre andel sier at deres barn bruker brukte klær. Spesielt klær blant de yngste barna går i arv. Det er vanlig å reparere barneklær selv, men uvanlig å betale andre for det. De færreste foreldre svarer at barna går med halvskitne klær, men helse og miljø fremstår ikke som spesielt viktige for foreldre når det gjelder klesvask. Det er delte meninger om og erfaringer omkring spørsmål om klær, klesnormer, kjønn, kjøpepress og religion. Hovedansvar for barns klær har mødrene eller ansvaret deles likt mellom foreldrene. Barn og unges meninger om klærs betydning for inkludering og erting er delte, det samme gjelder skoleuniform som mulig løsning. De er mer positive til dette tiltaket enn foreldrene. Resultatene viser at det mangler kunnskap om hvordan vi kan kle barn slik at de får en sunn, trygg og god barndom og hvem som har ansvar for at det skjer.

De fleste barn og unge rapporterer et mat- og spisemønster som er i tråd med ernæringspolitiske målsettinger. Tilgjengeligheten hjemme av sunne matvarer er høy i barnefamilier og tilgjengeligheten av usunne matvarer er lavere, men en av ti sier at de alltid har usunne matvare hjemme. Tre av fire foreldre sier at deres yngste barn spiser matpakke hver dag på skolen, og mange er enige i at matpakka bør erstattes med et skolemåltid. Behovet for å erstatte matpakka med et skolemåltid er størst blant foreldre i de laveste inntekts- og utdannelsesgruppene, og for foreldre som oppgir at barna deres ikke spiser matpakke daglig på skolen. Foreldre synes at det i stor grad er den enkeltes ansvar å spise sunt, men at også myndighetene har ansvar. Mange foreldre er enige i at myndigheter bør benytte seg av prisvirkemidler og at markedsføring og reklame av usunn mat til barn bør forbys. Barn og unge uttrykker både tilfredshet og misnøye med egen kropp og utseende. Ungdommer, jenter oftere enn gutter, gjennomfører en rekke skjønnhets- og kroppspraksiser regelmessig. Det er vanlig blant unge å unngå mat som allment anses som usunn.

Klikk her for å lese hele rapporten (oda.oslomet.no).

Summary

This report, which is mainly based on a survey about children, clothes, food and the body among parents of children aged 1-16 years, describes children’s and young people’s consumption of clothing and food and how they relate to the body, health and the environment. The survey shows that many parents give clothes for reuse, but a small proportion say that their children wear used clothes. Especially clothes among the youngest children are inherited. It is common to repair children’s clothes yourself, but unusual to pay others for it. Few parents answer that their children wear half-dirty clothes, but health and the environment do not appear to be particularly important for parents when it comes to laundry. There are divided opinions and experiences about questions about clothing, clothing standards, gender, buying pressure and religion. The main responsibility for children’s clothes lies with the mothers or the responsibility is shared equally between the parents. Children’s and young people’s opinions about the importance of clothing for inclusion and teasing are divided, as is the school uniform as a possible solution. They are more positive about this measure than the parents. The results show that there is a lack of knowledge about how we can dress children so that they have a healthy, safe and good childhood and who is responsible for it happening.

Most children and young people report a food and eating pattern that is in line with nutritional policy objectives. The availability of healthy foods at home is high in families with children and the availability of unhealthy foods is lower, but one in ten says that they always have unhealthy foods at home. Three out of four parents say that their youngest child eats a packed lunch every day at school, and many agree that the packed lunch should be replaced with a school meal. The need to replace the packed lunch with a school meal is greatest among parents in the lowest income and education groups, and for parents who state that their children do not eat packed lunches daily at school. Parents think that it is largely the individual’s responsibility to eat healthy, but that the authorities are also responsible. Many parents agree that the authorities should use pricing instruments and that marketing and advertising of unhealthy food to children should be banned. Children and young people express both satisfaction and dissatisfaction with their own body and appearance. Adolescents, girls more often than boys, conduct a variety of beauty and body practices regularly. It is common among young people to avoid foods that are generally considered unhealthy.

The full report is only available in Norwegian.

What Affects Garment Lifespans? International Clothing Practices Based on a Wardrobe Survey in China, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the USA

Kirsi Laitala and Ingun Grimstad Klepp

Abstract

Increasing the length of clothing lifespans is crucial for reducing the total environmental impacts. This article discusses which factors contribute to the length of garment lifespans by studying how long garments are used, how many times they are worn, and by how many users. The analysis is based on quantitative wardrobe survey data from China, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the USA. Variables were divided into four blocks related respectively to the garment, user, garment use, and clothing practices, and used in two hierarchical multiple regressions and two binary logistic regressions.

The models explain between 11% and 43% of the variation in clothing lifespans. The garment use block was most indicative for the number of wears, while garment related properties contribute most to variation in the number of users. For lifespans measured in years, all four aspects were almost equally important. Some aspects that affect the lifespans of clothing cannot be easily changed (e.g., the consumer’s income, nationality, and age) but they can be used to identify where different measures can have the largest benefits. Several of the other conditions that affect lifespans can be changed (e.g., garment price and attitudes towards fashion) through quality management, marketing strategies, information, and improved consumer policies.

Click here to read the full article (mdpi.com).

Environmental impacts associated with the production, use, and end-of-life of a woollen garment

S.G. Wiedemann, L. Biggs, B. Nebel, K. Bauch, K. Laitala, I.G. Klepp, P.G. Swan and K. Watson.

Abstract

Purpose

The textiles industry is a substantial contributor to environmental impacts through the production, processing, use, and end-of-life of garments. Wool is a high value, natural, and renewable fibre that is used to produce a wide range of garments, from active leisure wear to formal wear, and represents a small segment of the global fashion industry. Woollen garments are produced by long, global value chains extending from the production of ‘greasy’ wool on sheep farms, through processing to garment make-up, retail, consumer use, and end-of-life. To date, there have been limited life cycle assessment (LCA) studies on the environmental impacts of the full supply chain or use phase of garments, with the majority of wool LCA studies focusing on a segment of the supply chain. This study aimed to address this knowledge gap via a cradle-to-grave LCA of a woollen garment.

Methods

This study investigated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, fossil fuel energy, and water stress associated with the production, use, and end-of-life of a lightweight woollen sweater (300-g wool), together with inventory results for freshwater consumption and land occupation. Primary datasets were used for the wool production and wool processing stages, while primary datasets relating to consumer garment use were supplemented with literature data. Impacts were calculated and reported per garment wear event.

Results and discussion

Impacts per wear were 0.17 (± 0.02) kg CO2-e GHG, 0.88 (± 0.18) MJ fossil energy, and 0.96 (± 0.42) H2O-e water stress. Fossil fuel energy was dominated by wool processing, with substantial contributions of energy also arising from retail and garment care. Greenhouse gas emissions from wool production (farming) contributed the highest proportion of impacts, followed by lower contributions from processing and garment care. Contributions to water stress varied less across the supply chain, with major contributions arising from production, processing, and garment use.

Conclusions

Opportunities to improve the efficiency of production, processing, and garment care exist, which could also reduce resource use and impacts from wool. However, the number of garment wear events and length of garment lifetime was found to be the most influential factor in determining garment impacts. This indicated that consumers have the largest capacity to influence the sustainability of their woollen garments by maximising the active garment lifespan which will reduce overall impacts.

Click here to read the full article (springer.com).

Klær og miljø: Innkjøp, gjenbruk og vask

Sammendrag

Rapporten diskuterer klesanskaffelser og vedlikehold i dagens Norge basert på en spørreundersøkelse om bærekraftig forbruk. Respondentene rapporterte at de hadde anskaffet i gjennomsnitt 23,5 plagg i løpet av det siste året. De yngste mennene 18-19 år og alle kvinner frem til 59 år anskaffer like mye klær. Menn anskaffer færre ettersom de ble eldre og de eldste over 60 år anskaffer minst. Kvinner derimot holder samme nivået, 28-29 plagg uavhengig av alder frem til den eldste aldersgruppen. Kvinnene over 60 år anskaffer noe mindre (totalt 20 plagg). De aller fleste (20,2 av 23,5) plagg kjøpes nye. Dette tilsvarer 86% av klærne. Det nest vanligste måten å skaffe klær er å få de som gaver med 2 plagg per person.

I gjennomsnitt er det mindre enn ett plagg per person som er kjøpt brukt (0,6), og tilsvarende mindre enn ett plagg som er arvet (0,7). Totalt utgjør dette 1,3 gjenbrukte plagg per respondent per år. De unge kvinnene mellom 18 og 29 år anskaffet størst andel av gjenbrukte klærne med 12%. Klesvask har stor påvirkning på miljøbelastning og utgjør en vesentlig faktor for klesforbrukets miljøbelastning totalt sett. Ikke overaskende og helt i tråd med tidligere undersøkelser vaskes det kroppsnære plagget trøye, oftere enn gensere, og ullgensere og ulltrøyer sjeldnere enn tilsvarende plagg i bomull. Forbrukere som er opptatt av miljø vasker sitt ulltøy sjeldnere enn andre. En tilsvarende sammenheng finnes ikke for bomull.

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Summary

This report discusses clothing acquisition and maintenance in Norway based on a survey on sustainable consumption. Respondents reported that they had acquired an average of 23.5 garments during the past year. The youngest men (18-29 years) and all women up to age 59 purchase the same amount of clothing. Men acquire fewer as they grow older and the oldest age group over 60 years acquire the least. Women, on the other hand, hold the same level, 28-29 garments regardless of age up to the oldest age group. The women over the age of 60 purchase somewhat less (a total of 20 garments). The vast majority (20.2 out of 23.5) garments are purchased new. This corresponds to 86% of the clothes. The next most common way to get clothes is to receive them as gifts, with 2 garments per person. On average, less than one garment per person is purchased used (0.6), and correspondingly less than one garment that is received as hand-me-down (0.7). In total, this represents 1.3 second-hand garments per respondent per year. The young women between the ages of 18 and 29 acquired the largest share of reused clothing by 12%. Laundry has a major influence on environmental impact and is a significant factor for overall environmental impact of clothing consumption. Not surprisingly and completely in line with previous research, the next-to-skin garments are washed more often than sweaters, and woolen undershirts and sweaters are washed less often than similar cotton garments. Consumers concerned about the environment wash their woolen clothes less frequently than others. A similar connection does not exist for laundering frequency of cotton.

The full report is only available in Norwegian.

Jul – pynt, gaver, klær og mat

Annechen Bahr Bugge, Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Anita Borch, Alexander Schjøll, Kirsi Laitala og Vilde Anine Rydal Haugrønning

Sammendrag

I denne rapporten er det sett nærmere på hvilken betydning og rolle pynt, gaver, klær og mat har i juleritualet. Resultatene av spørreundersøkelsen viser at hvordan vi feirer jul er preget av stabilitet og relativt små endringer. De aller fleste deltar i julefeiringen. Syv av ti ga uttrykk for at julen hadde stor betydning for dem. Det respondentene satt mest pris på ved ritualet var det sosiale samværet, maten og måltidene og tradisjonene. Langt færre beskrev det kristne julebudskapet eller gavene som betydningsfulle. Samlet viser rapporten at den stemningen og det sosiale samværet som mange sier de setter pris på ved julen, nettopp skapes gjennom forbrukspraksiser som å kjøpe og lage gaver, vaske, rulle og stryke, bake, koke og steke, pynte og dekke bord, kle seg til høytiden, sette god mat på bordet og dele den med kjente og kjære. Rapporten viser dessuten at vi ikke bare er sammen, men også er sammen på en annen måte, en bestemt måte nokså annerledes enn i hverdagen.

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Summary

This report looks at the meaning and role of decorations, gifts, clothing and food in the Christmas ritual. The results show that the way we celebrate Christmas in Norway is characterized by stability and small changes. The vast majority of people attend the Christmas celebration. Seven out of ten stated that Christmas was important to them. Social gatherings, food and meals, as well as traditions, were the most appreciated by the respondents. Far fewer described the Christian Christmas message or gifts as important. Overall, the report shows that the atmosphere and sociality that many say they appreciate at Christmas is precisely created through consumer practices, such as buying and making gifts, washing, rolling and ironing, baking, cooking and roasting, decorating, dressing up for the holidays and sharing meals with known and loved ones. The report also shows that we are not only together, but also together in a different way at Christmas, a certain way quite different from everyday life.

The full report is only available in Norwegian.

Wardrobe sizes and clothing lifespans

Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Kirsi Laitala and Vilde Haugrønning

Abstract

It is easy to assume that a large wardrobe is characterized by excessive clothing and high acquisition, with little use of each garment and thus a big environmental impact. However, it is also possible to think the opposite; that the large wardrobe is a result of clothes remaining in use for a long time, that disposal happens rarely, while acquisition can be normal or even low. Whatever the reason, in a large wardrobe it is more likely that clothes become old before the technical life expires. This is because many of the garments are seldom used. Small wardrobes are often presented as favourable for both people and the environment, and as part of an ecological-friendly lifestyle, but we know little about the interaction between wardrobe sizes, longevity and the environmental impact.

In this paper, we investigate this relationship based on survey material from five countries; China, Germany, Japan, UK and the USA. We find that consumers with large wardrobes use their clothes longer, but consumers with small wardrobes use their clothes more often before they are disposed. We conclude that a good utilization of resources is possible with both large and small wardrobes, but in different ways. As we work towards more sustainable clothing consumption, we need to approach consumers differently, in order to give constructive advice to all.

This is a conference article from the 3rdPLATE 2019 Conference. Click here to find the full conference proceedings including this article (depositonce.tu-berlin.de).