Microfibers: Small Plastics, Big Problem
When thinking about you closet and its contents, turn to all your clothing made of acrylic, nylon, and polyester. These are your fleeces, underwear, swimming costumes, product free facecloths and loved leggings. Every time you wash these synthetic fabrics, millions of microfibers are released into the water system. 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 for human consumption. And one research paper showed that microfibers are responsible for 85 percent of shoreline pollution across the globe. So, how can we stop this pollution?
1. Wash synthetic clothes less frequently and for a shorter amount of time.
2. Fill up your washing machine. Washing a full load results in less friction between the clothes and fewer fibers released.
3. Consider switching to a liquid laundry soap. Laundry powder “scrubs” and loosens more microfibers. We love Triple Orange, it's what we use to wash all our Makeup Removal + Toning Pads before they are labelled and packaged.
4. Use a colder wash setting. Higher temperature can damage clothes and release more fibers. This is also a more energy efficient way of doing laundry.
5. Dry spin clothes at low revs. Higher revolutions increase the friction between the clothes. Alternatively, reduce the spin and hang your washing on the line earlier.
6. When you clean out your tumble dryer, place lint in the bin instead of down the drain.
7. Purchase a washing machine lint filter. They will benefit your septic system and the environment.
8. "Vote" with your purse, avoid synthetic fabrics and shop local. Avoid purchasing cheaply-made, “fast fashion” clothes, whenever possible. Cotton, linen, bamboo, wool and other natural fabrics do not release harmful micro plastics. Even constructions or embellishing thread with a polyester blend will release small amounts of microfibers. Natural fibers will eventually break down if released into the environment. Plastic fibers will never decompose.
9. Tell your friends and family about microfiber pollution.
10. Avoid synthetic microfiber "product free" facecloths, Washing these contributes to micro plastic pollution.