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Fast fashion is slowing but Brit's love of the washing machine is damaging the planet

New 3-in-1 sustainable clothing care device set to revolutionise the way we wash our clothes launches today

  • Four in 10 (38%) are unaware of the impact washing clothes has on the environment

  • Around a third of clothing’s carbon footprint comes from how we wash and care for what we own

  • 300,000 tonnes of clothing end up in household bins across the UK every year, the equivalent to 900 Boeing 747 jets

  • Almost one in three (30%) admit to throwing an item of clothing in the bin due to a stain they couldn’t remove

  • Textile washing accounts for as much as 35% of primary microplastics in our oceans

  • One in three (33%) would be willing to wash less frequently to be kinder to the planet

  • Today, British company launches a new 3-in-1 sustainable clothing care device set to revolutionise the way we wash our clothes after six years in development

  • Full report ‘Unfolding Laundry Habits: The missing piece of the sustainable fashion conversation’ available on request or downloadable here from Wednesday.

An in-depth report commissioned by w’air – a new, handheld sustainable clothing care device, in partnership with environmental organisation Hubbub, reveals that the UK is moving away from the fast fashion trend with over half of Brits (55%) saying they buy clothes to wear at least 30 times. However, four in 10 (38%) admit they are unaware of the impact washing clothes has on the environment.

After six years of research and development, a team of inventors has created the first sustainable laundry device on the market. Launching today, w’air uses innovative technology to clean clothes, soft furnishings or even trainers. As well refreshing garments and deep cleaning delicates, w’air effortlessly removes stains, dirt and odours which means the washing machine can be used less frequently, enabling us to keep our favourite clothes looking fresher and newer for longer.


The environmental footprint of the fashion industry and its strain on the planet has increasingly become a concern. According to the new report, approximately two tonnes of clothing is bought in the UK every minute and over 300,000 tonnes of clothing ends up in household bins across the UK every year – the equivalent to over 900 Boeing 747 jets. Globally, 50% of all clothing made ends up in incinerators or landfill within a year of being produced2. It is little surprise therefore that almost one in three (30%) admits to throwing an item of clothing in the bin due to a stain they couldn’t remove.


However, attitudes towards fast fashion seem to be changing. Over half (55%) of those surveyed said they regularly buy clothes they plan to wear at least 30 times. With sustainable shopping habits well and truly on the rise, an area often overlooked is the environmental impact of laundry habits and the knock-on effect on the longevity of clothes.



Globally, the way we wash and dry our clothes and the regularity at which we do so is thought to account for an enormous 120 million tonnes of CO2. In fact, around a third of clothing’s carbon footprint comes from how we wash and care for what we own and textile washing is thought to account for as much as 35% of primary microplastics in our oceans. Worryingly, almost two in five (38%) admit they are unaware the impact washing clothes has on the environment.


Clothing ends up in landfill due to becoming misshapen, having shrunk or faded, all of which can result from over-washing. In fact, over one in five (22%) have damaged clothes by washing them incorrectly. One in three (33%) would be willing to wash less frequently to be kinder to the planet.


Half of Brits say they rarely, or never, spot clean garments which leads to over-washing an entire garment excessively. Almost a third of respondents (31%) would consider purchasing new stain removal gadgets and products to extend the life of clothing.


With such a strong desire amongst consumers to reduce their environmental impact and keep clothing in circulation longer, it is surprising to see such limited innovation in the clothing care space, until now. Using pioneering hydrodynamic technology, w’air refreshes clothes between washes, deep cleans delicates and removes stains, dirt and odours from garments and trainers. Rather than throwing everything in the washing machine and hoping for the best, w’air tackles stains and spills, extending the life of clothes whilst reducing water, detergent and energy use.


Jonathan Hewlett, Pilot Lite Venture Lead and w’air CEO comments:

The accelerating climate crisis has propelled the issue of sustainability into almost every aspect of our lives. Consumers are now demanding sustainability from the products they buy from point of creation to end of life. But it’s not just about demanding businesses are better, they want to do their bit for the planet too and are looking for the tools that can help them. This is where w’air comes in; it helps people care for their clothing differently and reduces their environmental footprint along the way.

We know it’s hard to ask consumers to completely change their shopping behaviour but the rise in vintage clothing and re-selling sites has shown consumers are pushing for a sustainable future. With the help of w’air, we hope that people will begin to change their laundry behaviour and re-imagine the way they care for their clothes.”


Kirstie Brittain, spokesperson at Hubbub comments:

“Advancements in the products and appliances available to consumers will be important to extending clothing life and reducing the environmental impact laundry can have. Recent years have seen innovation in the efficiency of washing machines, rising popularity for laundry detergent that is better for the environment and more innovative clothing care devices. The combination of this, alongside further education and practical advice are providing consumers with the tools to enable them to make positive changes in their clothing care rituals.”

w’air is a brand new unique clothing care device set to re-imagine laundry. It was developed using pioneering, hydrodynamic technology which was the result of six years of development. Treating stubborn stains, deep cleaning delicates or refreshing lightly worn clothes between washes, w’air uses just a fraction of the water, energy and detergent of conventional laundry. With w’air, customers can extend the life of their clothes by protecting them… and the environment.

w’air launches in the UK for £199 with an exclusive high street partnership with Selfridges during June and then across key European markets and other selected retailers including Amazon from July.

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