Hazel Wheeler and her trusty sewing machine, "The Dragon" are on a mission to reduce clothing waste.

This month she launched her new eco-friendly fashion Label, Wilding & Mystic

The Otorohanga resident has been working on her new label for over a year and is glad to share her green outlook with the world.

"Yeah, I've always had this ethos, an outlook on doing best as I can and stepping as lightly as I can on the earth," Wheeler said.


"So that's how I came about, because I was upcycling old clothes into new ones but I wanted to have more control on the fabrics I was using."

The fabrics for her new line are made out of hemp and bamboo - sourced under strict conditions from China as Hazel is yet to source fabric that is natural and plant-based in Aotearoa.

"Ideally I would love to have it all made and sourced here and that's something I may move towards in future, but right now this is what I have available."

When the fabric arrives in New Zealand Hazel dyes the materials with plant-based dyes, a laborious process which can take up to a week.

A report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) highlighted that 35 per cent of microplastics in our oceans come from synthetic clothing.

In Rotorua, researchers in a joint project between Scion and AgResearch, have been comparing woollen fibres from garments and carpet with their common synthetic counterparts using New Zealand's only automated biodegradation testing facility.

"We're comparing different fibres in this system, so wool fibre with synthetic fibres," Scion Technology and Service Leader Lou Sherman said.

The released CO2 is measured by the speacilist biodegrability equipment.


"Natural fibres are eaten by microbes so they consume it like sugar, like carbohydrates - then convert into energy for themselves and CO2," Sherman said.

The initial biodegradation trial is concluding soon and the data will be analysed and put into a report to see how the samples have degraded.

"This kind of information will help consumers make informed choices about the products they buy," Sherman said.

"What we believe is that because wool fibres are made from bio-resources or they are natural, then they will degrade faster than the synthetic fibres."

So far observations from the trial show the biodegradation of the fabrics has been consistent with the hypothesis that wool breaks down "relatively" quickly.

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