Toxic Clothing: 15 Ways To Stop Global Microfiber Pollution

Posted by on April 14, 2017 in Hazards, Issues & Diseases, Health with 0 Comments

Blue microfibers from clothing interwoven with an oyster shell. Photo by Robert Simmons.

Source: Plastic Pollution Coalition

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?

15. Watch The Story of Stuff’s microfiber movie to learn about the issue.

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.

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