You’ll produce around 63 tons of garbage in your lifetime and some of that will be your outdoor gear: Gore-Tex pants, ski jackets, backpacks, bikes. When you disappear, your stuff won’t, some of it for several hundred years or more.
What this video shows shouldn’t be that surprising: that a shirt made of merino wool will completely biodegrade under a layer of soil in just nine months. But it does make a point, especially when you consider your polyester baselayers don’t degrade at all in the same span of time. Recycling programs like Patagonia’s Common Threads are a great effort to tackle the end-of-life issues with poly. But sheep are not synthetic and since they biodegrade, so does their wool, too. Over time, it’s essentially a Leave No Trace piece of clothing.
Environmental coverage made possible in part by support from Patagonia. For information on Patagonia and its environmental efforts, visit www.patagonia.com.