PPC Webinar – Washed Up: The Invisible Threat of Plastic Microfibers

January 12 , 5:00 pm 6:00 pm EST

PPC Webinar - Washed Up: The Invisible Threat of Microfibers

Over 60% of clothing sold worldwide contains plastic—in the forms of polyester, acrylic, nylon, spandex, and more. Through regular washing and wearing, synthetic clothing sheds tiny plastic particles called “microfibers.” A single load of laundry can release over 9 million microfibers into our waterways. Many microfibers are so small they cannot be filtered by wastewater treatment facilities and ultimately end up in our oceans.

In our first webinar of 2023, we will explore how the ubiquitous nature of synthetic textiles is causing a massive and largely invisible plastic pollution problem. We will be joined by Meli Hinostroza, Co-Founder, Aya Eco Fashion & Arms of Andes; Dr. Andrej Kržan, Chief Scientist, PlanetCare; and Dr. Judith Weis, Professor Emerita of Biological Sciences at Rutgers University. The conversation will be moderated by Madeleine MacGillivray, Climate and Plastics Campaign Coordinator, Seeding Sovereignty.

Date: Thursday, January 12
Time: 2-3 pm PT | 5-6 pm ET
Click here to convert to your timezone.


Meli Hinostroza
Aya Eco Fashion & Arms of Andes

Meli is a Los Angeles-born Peruvian who has worked to bridge the gap between her ancestors’ heritage and the modern world by creating uniquely sustainable clothing made from the Inca’s most functional fiber, alpaca wool, and the softest organic fiber, organic pima cotton. With her brother, Rensso, they built a studio in Peru developing plastic-free clothing through their company “Arms of Andes,” a PPC Business Member. Her goals are to keep centering sustainability and spreading the word of what a real sustainable clothing industry should be. The siblings aim to redesign the fashion industry and educate consumers and manufacturers on how to choose and create sustainable and biodegradable clothing.

Dr. Andrej Kržan
Chief Scientist

Andrej holds a doctorate in chemistry and has been working in academic research for 25 years, focusing on the environmental aspects of polymers and plastics. He has coordinated several international projects and is a lecturer for waste management and polymer materials at the University level. Andrej joined PPC Business Member PlanetCare in 2018 with a wish to not just study an environmental problem but rather contribute to a solution for it. At PlanetCare, he is responsible for projects, external collaborations, and the laboratory.

Dr. Judith S. Weis
Professor Emerita of Biological Sciences
Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey

Judith is a Professor Emerita of Biological Sciences at Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey. She has published over 250 refereed scientific papers and a technical book on marine pollution, and has edited several books. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was a Science Policy Fellow with the U.S. Senate and a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Indonesia. She has been on advisory committees for U.S. EPA, NOAA (National Sea Grant Advisory Board), and the National Research Council. She also chaired the Science Advisory Board of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. She served on the boards of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, the Association for Women in Science, and the American Institute of Biological Sciences, of which she was President in 2001.


Madeleine MacGillivray
Climate and Plastics Campaign Coordinator
Seeding Sovereignty

Madeleine is a lifelong climate activist, microplastics-focused science communicator, sustainable brand consultant, and native of Brooklyn, NY. She holds an M.S. in Sustainability Management at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, and a B.A. in Environmental Policy from Barnard, having completed her undergraduate thesis on microplastics pollution at Columbia’s renowned Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Madeleine is the Climate and Plastics Campaign Coordinator at Indigenous-led Seeding Sovereignty, connecting environmental justice and the fossil fuel-to-plastic pipeline. Also an Ambassador and advisory board member of the 5 Gyres Institute, Madeleine specializes in microplastics pollution research and legislation. Madeleine communicates complex environmental issues with creativity, compassion, and empathy.


January 12 , 7:00 pm 8:00 pm EST

Join Beyond Plastics at 7:00 pm ET US on Thursday, January 12 when pediatrician and toxicologist, Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, will summarize what we know, what we don’t know, and what researchers strongly suspect about the impact of plastics on human health and future generations.

Plastics and their additives have been found in every corner of the ecosystem, including human blood, lungs, and all three sides of the placenta. But what is it doing there? It may be too soon to know precisely, but by looking at animal models and the known toxic effects of plasticizing chemicals, researchers can tell us a lot.

November 16, 2022 , 3:00 pm 5:00 pm EST

During this virtual town hall hosted by the Center for Environmental Health (CEH), find out about the often invisible pollutants (including plastic particles) in our indoor environments and how to get rid of them. We will learn from experts the Dos and Don’ts of creating a healthy home and how we can stem the tide of unnecessary industry-created chemicals that find their way into our homes. For 26 years, CEH’s Built Environment program has worked to clean up the furniture and flooring product categories by partnering with large institutions to leverage their purchasing power and transform markets away from toxic materials and towards health-protective practices.

Halloween is a holiday best known for being fun, spooky, and, frighteningly, filled with lots and lots of plastic. There’s nothing fun about plastic, though it is commonly used to make Halloween costumes, masks, candy wrappers, decorations, toys, and makeup. Plastic harms both the environment and human health. It contains hazardous chemicals, and causes injustice and pollution all over the world. Now that’s truly scary!

But Halloween doesn’t have to be a wasteful, unjust, and unhealthy nightmare. Solutions to plastic pollution exist. Thankfully, there are lots of Halloween traditions we can continue to partake in and enjoy…just without the plastic! 

Here are Plastic Pollution Coalition’s top five tips for eliminating plastic from your spooky festivities this Halloween season:

1. Make treats from scratch:

Caramel apple by Joshua Ganderson (Flickr)

It wouldn’t be Halloween without the treats. Unfortunately, most Halloween delicacies are wrapped in toxic, single-use plastic packaging that pollutes the environment and our bodies. Make your own Halloween candies, baked goods, and other sweets from scratch to cut out the plastic:

  • The key to plastic-free Halloween treats is to keep it simple. Recipes with few ingredients and steps can help spare you of plastic packaging. Not to mention, simplicity can make it quick, easy, and affordable to create your own Halloween sweets. Think: vegan caramel apples made with wooden sticks or twigs from your garden. Or beet-colored red velvet cupcakes baked without liners in nontoxic glass or ceramic baking pans (these can be made vegan as well). And spooky sugar cookies made with plastic-free icing sugar.
  • Shop for unprocessed, whole ingredients whenever possible: Find reuse and refill shops near you where you can bring your own bags and containers to stock up with loose, unpackaged foods. When that is not possible, seek out local shops where it’s possible to purchase foods in bulk and/or in packaging other than plastic. Good packaging alternatives include nontoxic paper, metal, glass, bamboo, algae, banana leaves, and other materials.
  • Be mindful of chemicals in the kitchen: Did you know that many cupcake liners, baking trays, pots, pans, spatulas, and other common tools commonly contain plastics and toxic chemicals known to harm human health and the environment, like PFAS? Opt for non-toxic, naturally anti-microbial materials like bamboo and some stainless steel, wood, glass, and ceramic.

2. Create a costume from reused materials

With a little creativity, you can turn used clothing, newspapers, cardboard, and other cheap or free plastic-free materials into awesome Halloween costumes. Most commercially sold costumes—and in fact much clothing made and sold today—is manufactured with plastic fibers like nylon, polyester, polyamide, and acrylic. These plastics rapidly shed toxic microfibers into the environment and our bodies. Play with non-toxic and plastic-free cosmetics when putting on your best Halloween face.

Not only is making your own plastic-free costume cheaper, more sustainable, and healthier than buying one, it’s also more fun:

3. Choose degradable decorations

Typically, Halloween decorations such as fake spiderwebs, glowing pumpkins, and inflatables, are made of polluting plastic. And most plastic Halloween decorations are either used just once, or once a year. 

Keep plastic and toxins away from your home this Halloween without sacrificing any of your fall vibe by adorning with biodegradable items! If farms exist in your area, pay a visit to find pumpkins and other gourds, as well as dried corn, hay bales, and other beautiful and natural seasonal decorations. Dried leaf wreaths, scarecrows, and other plastic-free decorations can turn a fall afternoon of yard cleanup into fun touches for your yard or home.

Carve a pumpkin, and save and toast the seeds in your oven with salt and oil for healthy snacking this Halloween, or save and plant them in your garden next spring. If carving is not your thing, you can also paint your pumpkins with non-toxic, plastic-free paints, such as tempera. Once those pumpkins are looking mushy, throw them in your compost pile or donate them to a wildlife rescue or refuge that accepts uncarved Halloween pumpkins to feed animals in need.

4. Trick-or-treat without waste

Instead of filling up your trick-or-treat bowl with the usual plastic-wrapped, bite-sized candies, consider supplying your neighborhood kids with plastic-free treats. Bulk candy or homemade candy distributed in decorated paper bags can be a good option if you’re familiar with the people coming to your door this Halloween. Other ideas include giving out small change instead of candy, offering fruit in peels or rinds (like oranges or apples). 

If you’re out on a trick-or-treating route, use cloth or canvas bags (such as ours!), or even a cotton pillowcase or sewn-up t-shirt works as a plastic-free treat receptacle. Remember to hydrate as you scour your neighborhood for the best tricks and treats: bring a reusable stainless steel water bottle with you on your rounds. 

5. Party plastic-free

Everyone loves a good Halloween costume party! As we’ve covered, asking your friends to wear their best homemade get-ups, decorating with degradable materials, and preparing plastic-free treats and other tasty foods to celebrate the season are great ways to cut the plastic out of Halloween without losing any of the fun. 

When setting up your plastic-free Halloween party, choose reusable plastic-free utensils, dishes, cups, straws, and other foodware over single-use options. In lieu of gifts or goodie bags, offer homemade treats or D.I.Y. crafts or plastic-free reusables (like straws made of stainless steel or other non-plastic, non-toxic materials) in paper bags, or on a tray or plate.

Have a healthy, happy, plastic-free Halloween!

Find more tips for a plastic-free Halloween in this conversation between Plastic Pollution Coalition Youth Ambassador Eva Geierstanger and Co-Founder and CEO Dianna Cohen.


Fall is a beautiful time full of festivities, scenic vistas, and delicious treats—but it can also come with a huge plastic tab. Here are Plastic Pollution Coalition’s 10 tips for enjoying the beauty and tastiness of fall with none of the plastic.

1. Bring a Reusable Cup to Enjoy Pumpkin-Spiced or Other Fall Beverages
Plastic Free Autumn

Some people wait all year for delicious pumpkin spice lattes, hot ciders, and other fall-exclusive beverages but don’t want single-use plastic lids or cups. Luckily, many coffee and tea shops allow reusable cups and thermoses. Take advantage and enjoy your spicy fall beverages in a reusable metal or insulated glass container.

2. Support a Local Food Truck & Bring a Reusable Container
Plastic Free Autumn 2

Local food trucks are great destinations for fall-exclusive entrees and also an opportunity to support a local business while bringing reusable containers. Grab your reusables and dine out plastic-free!

3. Visit the Farmer’s Market (Bring Your Reusable Bags)
Plastic Free Autumn 3

Apples and pumpkins and squash, oh my! So many delicious fruits and vegetables come in season during the fall. Support your local farmer’s market to enjoy fresh, local, organic fall produce and don’t forget to bring your reusable bags!

4. Make Tasty Fall Treats at Home
Plastic Free Autumn 4

If dining out isn’t your thing, there are a number of delicious fall treats you can make at home. From baking an apple or pumpkin pie to making your own spiced cider, to taking your Halloween pumpkin seeds and roasting them with olive oil and salt. You can also turn those autumn pumpkins into delicious pumpkin soup! Enjoy the taste of fall at home and skip the plastic to-go packaging.

5. Host a Harvest Dinner
Plastic Free Autumn 5

One of the best ways to save on plastic is to dine in with friends and family and enjoy the flavors and fun of fall with a potluck using fall veggies. Grab that delicious seasonal produce from the garden or local farmer’s market and throw a classic harvest meal.

6. Go Apple Picking (with a Reusable Bag)

Nothing quite compares to visiting an apple orchard during harvest season. The crisp smell of fresh fruit, the crunchy and juicy bites right off the tree—what more can be said? If you have the means, take a trip to the apple orchard and grab some delicious in-season snacks or bundle up to bake a delicious apple pie at home.

7. Go For a Fall Hike

The crisp autumn air, the changing leaves, and scenic early sunsets make fall an excellent time to get out into nature. Plan a hike or a trip to a national park or local nature preserve, snap some seasonal photos, and capture the best of the season. And for those with artistic inclinations …

8. Bring a Sketch Pad Into Nature

… bring a sketch pad! Fall is an excellent time to capture stunning vistas like no other. For the artistically inclined, skip the camera and go out and capture the autumnal beauty through YOUR artistic lens!

9. Watch a Live Sports Game and Tailgate with Friends

Fall is a great time for live sporting events. Around the world, many soccer leagues resume games and in the United States, Major League Baseball enters the playoff season heading into the World Series. High School and College Football games also kick into full swing in autumn. Enjoy live sporting events plastic-free by tailgating with reusable containers before the game and say no to those single-use cups and food trays.

10. Make Pressed Leaves by Putting Them Inside a Heavy Book

When it comes to fall decorations, natural, colorful leaves are a free alternative to cheap plastic store-bought items. Preserve beautiful fall leaves following these easy steps:

  • First, pick leaves that aren’t dry but are thin, with a low moisture content.
  • Next, sandwich the leaves with newspaper or wax paper. 
  • Take the sandwiched leaves and place them within a hard book. Stack many books on top for extra pressure as needed.
  • Check on the leaves every few days to ensure they are drying and not rotting.
  • After 2-3 weeks you will have beautiful, pressed autumn leaves!

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