Think about all your clothing made of acrylic, nylon, and polyester. Yes, that means fleece, trousers, blouses, socks, and even your beloved yoga pants. Did you know? Every time you wash these synthetic fabrics, millions of microfibers are released into the water. Microfibers are too small to be filtered out by waste treatment plants, so they end up in our waterways and oceans, where they wreak havoc on marine animals and the environment.
Plastic fibers are now showing up in fish and shellfish sold in in California and Indonesia for human consumption. And one paper showed that microfibers are responsible for 85 percent of shoreline pollution across the globe. How can we stop this pollution?
14. Wash synthetic clothes less frequently and for a shorter duration.
13. Fill up your washing machine. Washing a full load results in less friction between the clothes and fewer fibers released.
12. Consider switching to a liquid laundry soap. Laundry powder “scrubs” and loosens more microfibers.
11. Use a colder wash setting. Higher temperature can damage clothes and release more fibers.
10. Dry spin clothes at low revs. Higher revolutions increase the friction between the clothes.
9. When you clean out your dryer, place lint in the trash instead of washing it down the drain.
8. Consider purchasing a Guppy Friend wash bag. In tests, the bag captured 99 percent of fibers released in the washing process. The bags will soon be available for purchase at Patagonia for $20-30.
6. Speak up and tell clothing designers to choose natural fabrics that aren’t prone to shedding. Sign the petition here!
5. Join Plastic Pollution Coalition to read the latest news and help us get the word out.
4. Tell your friends and family about microfiber pollution.
3. Avoid purchasing cheaply-made, “fast fashion” clothes, whenever possible.
2. Buy clothes made from natural fibers such as cotton, linen, and wool. Natural fibers will eventually break down in the environment. Plastic fibers will never go away.
1. Share this article to spread the #StopTheMicrofiber message. We all can do something to help.