Patching The Holes In Waterproof Life-Cycle Analysis

Patching The Holes In Waterproof Life-Cycle Analysis

By Alex Guerrero

There’s only one public Life-cycle Analysis for a waterproof jacket. Just one (by Goretex). And that one is now a decade old. It’s incredible how little research has been when clothing contributes 8-10% of global carbon emissions.

We worked with Matt Cripsey, Birkbeck. UoL, with his academic research into how Alpkit customers are using their waterproofs. The results are stunningly positive and underpins our ‘customer use’ of our full value carbon chain. It found that we use our jackets for much longer than previously thought. Our customers expects an average 7 years of primary use with another 4 years as ‘second best’. 11 years is much longer than the 3 to 5 years previously believed. Most customers then pass to someone else rather than going to landfill.

Key Findings

  • Most people wear their waterproof jacket weekly for hiking, walking and everyday use.
  • Use their jackets for 7 years on average. But the jacket is still used, as a second best, for another 4 years. Many customers have had their waterproofs for 20 years or so.
  • Emotional durability – i.e. how long you choose to use a jacket - is much more important than physical durability – which is how long a garment will practically last.
  • People wash and reproof annually and use the 30°C cycle
  • They then pass to someone new at a charity shops or by sell privately on eBay or similar.

The research resonates profoundly with our ‘Gear You’ll Love For Longer’ ethos and will directly impact our fabric selection for future use. Thanks to Matt and everyone who completed the survey.

Most people wear waterproof jackets for everyday use as well as hiking and hill walking

And on average people reproof their waterproofs once a year

Half of all customers give their old jackets to friends or a charity shop. But 1 in 5 end up in household waste

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