Plastic fibers are now showing up in fish and shellfish sold in part of the world including California, according to our sources, and make up 85% of shoreline pollution across the globe. If that isn't concerning enough, washing one load of synthetic clothes is said to release millions of microplastics into the water systems, and simply wearing these synthetic garments can release these fibers into the air with the same effect.
Once these microfibers are released into the environment, they are said to act as magnets for organic pollutants, absorbing toxic chemicals and detergents found in our water systems. When they finally make their way to the oceans, they are eaten by fish and marine animals that are eventually consumed by people. Yet, whether or not you are a consumer of seafood, the simple fact that it's polluting the environment and water should be alarming enough.
So, what can we do? Below, we recommend the following strategies we should all implement to help stop the negative impact of these microfibers:
• Hand washing or washing synthetic clothes less often
• Washing a full load rather than a half load to create less friction between the clothes and release fewer fibers
• Using colder wash settings to cause less damage to the clothes and release less fibers
• Using liquid detergents instead of powders
• Washing similar textures together
• Dry spinning clothes at low revolutions to reduce friction between clothes
• Placing lint in the trash instead of washing down the drain
• Purchasing washing machine filters such as Guppy bags, LINT Luv-R, and Cora balls
• Speaking up and telling designers, friends and family about microfiber pollution
• Buying less stuff, especially new stuff
• Avoid investing in poor quality, fast fashion clothing (but if you do, investing in tightly-woven fabrics)
• Buying clothes made from eco-friendly materials including organic hemp and linen, as well as recycled cotton and wool
Source: Good On You, Plastic Pollution Coalition, & Wbur