Industry Statistics & Practices

In order to test the environmental footprint of down fill material, the International Down and Feather Bureau (IDFB), of which American Down and Feather Council (ADFC) is an active member, commissioned Long Trail Sustainability (LTS), an independent third-party organization that specializes in Life Cycle Assessments (LCA), to conduct an LCA of down compared to polyester fill.

The LCA tested the impact of down versus polyester in 5 environmental areas: human health, ecosystems, resources, cumulative energy demand and climate change. On a per ton basis, down has between 85% – 97% lower impacts than polyester in all the impact categories analyzed, and has 18 times less of an impact on climate change than polyester fill. To provide a fair and accurate scientific assessment, LTS provides LCAs that are ISO compliant and take equality into consideration when studying the lifetime of a product. 

In 2016, the International Down and Feather Bureau commissioned a white paper that assessed the origins of down and feather products. The report, titled, The Sustainable and Humane Practices of the Down and Feather Industry, concludes that the down and feather used in bedding, apparel and outdoor gear comes from ducks and geese raised for human consumption and that the material is simply a byproduct of the enormous global food industry.

According to the report, approximately 2.7 billion ducks and 653 million geese were raised for consumption globally from 2009-2013, resulting in an estimated 410 million pounds (186 million kilograms) of excess down and feathers each year. These materials, which would otherwise serve only as a waste product, are then cleaned and sanitized for use in products like pillows, comforters, duvets, mattress toppers, winter jackets and outdoor sports gear, instead of contributing to worldwide landfill issues.

Down & Feather Attributes

Learn more about down & feather bedding

Consumer Facts

Our Factzzz on Down and Feather offer additional information about the health and wellness benefits of down and feather.