Quarter of Christmas jumpers were worn once and discarded last year

Rebecca Smithers Consumer affairs correspondent
Consumers will spend about £220m on festive jumpers this year. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

One in four Christmas jumpers bought last year was thrown away or is unlikely to be worn again, according to new research which reveals that most novelty sweaters will only ever be worn once.

Emblazoned with flashing lights or more tasteful alpine motifs, the festive apparel is so popular that about £220m will be spent on them in the run up to Christmas this year.

New research by environmental charity Hubbub also reveals that for many owners, last year’s look will not do; one in three under-35s buy a new Christmas jumper every year.

The survey of more than 3,000 UK consumers shows that 24% do not want to be seen in the same jumper as previous years while 29% say they are so cheap that they might as well get a new one every year. One in four jumpers purchased last year were either binned or are unlikely to be worn again. More than a third (35%) of people admit they only wear their jumper once in the festive period, so many are as good as new.

“The Christmas jumper phenomenon is now a firm part of our Christmas celebrations in the UK and it has raised a lot of money for charity,” said Hubbub’s Sarah Divall. “However, it’s also the perfect opportunity to reflect on our addiction to fast fashion which is having a devastating impact on the environment. I’d urge people to think twice about whether they really need to buy a new jumper this year. Instead let’s dig out all those Christmas jumpers hiding away in wardrobes and swap with a friend or donate them to charity shops or even refashion something you already own.”

The Ellen MacArthur foundation recently exposed the scale of the waste generated by the fashion industry, and how its throwaway culture generates greenhouse emissions of 1.2bn tonnes a year – more than international flights and shipping combined.

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