Our Merino wool shirts are sustainable and 100% Biodegradable
FR3ND Merino shirts are made from Superfine Merino wool which is a natural and renewable resource. As long as there is grass to eat, sheep will continue to produce Merino wool and when the shirt is disposed of, it will naturally decompose in soil in a matter of months, slowly releasing valuable nutrients back into the earth.
Shirts made from synthetic fibres (found in most non iron shirts) on the other hand, can be extremely slow to degrade and significantly contribute to the world’s overflowing landfills. They degrade so slowly that we don't yet know the time it will take for a synthetic blended shirt to degrade as there hasn't been enough decades yet to record this. Some scientists predict it could be into the hundreds of years before a synthetic shirt fully degrades and when it does, the toxic fibres will pollute the area the shirt was disposed in.
HOW DO OUR MERINO WOOL SHIRTS BIODEGRADE?
All materials of animal and vegetable origin have some degree of biodegradability, meaning that they are capable of being decomposed by the action of living organisms, such as fungi and bacteria.
Merino wool is composed of the natural protein keratin, which is similar to the protein that makes up human hair. When keratin is broken down naturally by microorganisms, the products do not pose any environmental hazard.
OUR MERINO WOOL SHIRTS BIODEGRADE FASTEST IN MOIST, WARM CONDITIONS
On disposal of your FR3ND shirt it will most likely be buried in landfill. If Merino wool is kept warm and moist or buried in soil, fungal and bacterial growths develop which produce enzymes that digest the merino wool.
On the other hand, thanks to the unique chemical structure of keratin and wool’s tough, water-repellent outer membrane, clean and dry wool fibres do not readily degrade. This allows our Merino shirts to be extremely resilient and long-lasting in normal conditions.
OUR MERINO WOOL SHIRTS BIODEGRADE QUICKLY
Our shirts have been engineered to biodegrade completely in as little as three to four months but the rate varies with soil, climate and wool characteristics. The shirt is produced using natural fibres and even the buttons are produced using natural shell.
When the shirt biodegrades, it releases essential elements such as nitrogen, sulphur and magnesium back to the soil that are able to be taken up by growing plants.
Some studies have found more rapid degradation of Merino wool after only four weeks burial in soils.
OUR MERINO WOOL SHIRTS RETURN ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS TO THE SOIL
On burial in soil, our Merino wool shirts become a slow-release fertiliser providing nutrients for uptake and growth by other organisms.
Farmers have even used wool fertiliser to foster herb and vegetable growth and this is known as natural closed loop recycling; restoring the initial inputs of soil and grass.
Other beneficial effects of adding wool to soils include enhanced water holding capacity, improved water infiltration, soil aeration and reduced erosion.
BE CONFIDENT OUR MERINO WOOL SHIRTS DO NOT ADD TO LANDFILL VOLUMES OR MICROFIBRE POLLUTION
Merino wool fibres used in our shirts biodegrade naturally in a relatively short period in soils and aquatic systems and therefore do not accumulate in landfill and oceans.
Results from the University of Canterbury study demonstrate that merino wool degrades completely in a marine environment and therefore never end up in marine life or the food chain.
In contrast, synthetic textiles persist for many decades and can disintegrate to small microfibre fragments. Commonly known as microplastics, or microfibres when less than 5mm in diameter, these fragments accumulate in aquatic environments and land disposal sites where they have negative effects on ecosystems when consumed by organisms.
A single polyester shirt can produce more than 1900 fibres per wash. Ingestion has a negative impact on organisms, sometimes causing death through starvation as plastic replaces food in the stomach. Once in the food chain, microplastics potentially also affect human health via seafood consumption.