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SDC Midlands Region: Brexit, Trump, Generation Rent – is this the decade of disruption?

By Bill Skidmore

In October we attended a joint meeting of the SDC Midlands Region and Nottingham Society of Technical Dyers. The speaker for this event was Charles Ross, a visiting lecturer and specialist in performance sportswear design and sustainability.

Before stating what the lecture was about, one must comment about the excellent attendance from both societies. It was really good to see a mixture and span from students to more mature members; there was at least one young student who had travelled down from Leeds University. The allocated room for the event was overflowing.

There appeared, (to me) at first glance, no relationship to Charles’ original title to the actual content of his talk. Mainly, this concentrated on the sustainability of textiles in their broadest sense. Although realising some of the facts it was very interesting to have them quantified and to be alerted to them.

Synthetic fibres are often blamed for being the ‘major’ contributor of micro plastics in the oceans as micro fibres are produced during washing and are too small to be extracted at sewage treatment works and filtration plants and so continue on to the oceans. However, it was interesting to learn that they are in fact only the fourth culprit, (producing about a fifth of the annual total of micro-plastic debris), following residue dust from tyres (and also from the soles of shoes), pellet spills, paints (degrades from surfaces) and then textiles. It was also interesting to learn that, in detailed investigation of the residual debris in water, there was never any trace of wool. By the time the water reached the sea it had completely disintegrated.

Charles also made the point that the so called ‘breathable’ waterproof fabrics really only work in circumstances where there is a humidity difference between the inside of the garment and the environment so they may be waterproof, but, will not release moisture from the inside when the humidity is high as it frequently is in Britain’s rainy climate.

One of the fibres that is frequently extolled as being ‘green’ as it is a natural fibre is cotton. However, it requires vast quantities of fertilizer, pesticide and water to make the crop commercial……and is it right to be using limited farm land to produce industrial crops instead of much needed food?

In today’s ‘throw away’ society we need to think more about ‘Reduce, Re-wear, Repair, Reuse/resell and Recycle’

An extremely good lecture. Well done to Kathy Dickinson (Chair of SDC’s Midlands Region) for organising a great event. The moral of this event is “good speaker-good attendance”.

With thanks to SDC member Bill Skidmore for writing this blog.

SDC’s runs a regular programme of events, many of which are free to attend. Take a look at the website to see what’s coming up.

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