How your laundry is contributing to ocean microplastics

Posted by Rachael Funnell on November 14, 2019

Find out how you can reduce the amount of plastic entering our oceans by adapting your laundry routine

It’s no secret that ocean plastic is a pressing issue currently facing the population, with recent UK Government estimates suggesting that as much as 150 million tonnes of plastic waste enter our oceans every year. What is less known however is that one culprit introducing harmful microplastics into our seas is laundry.

Microplastics are tiny fragments of plastic which aren’t always visible to the eye. Their small size means it’s easy for them to slip through conventional filters and into our oceans, where they build up and are ingested by marine wildlife. This contamination climbs up the food chain, even reaching us, and its estimated the average person consumes one credit card’s worth of plastic each year. 

You could be forgiven for thinking that soft clothing is plastic free, but in fact polyester, nylon, acrylic and synthetic fibers are all forms of plastic, and used commonly in clothing production worldwide. Favoured for their cheap manufacture and stretchy properties, they are an excellent option from an economic standpoint for manufacturers, but we are starting to see the effects of washing such materials and releasing polluted water into our seas. 

You can reduce your output of microplastics by opting for garments which are free from the worst offenders; polyester, nylon, acrylic and synthetic fibers. Furthermore, special washing machine filters such as Guppyfriend which reduces the amount of fibers lost in a wash by 80%.

Click here to find out how one man’s invention is cleaning up our oceans.

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