“I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandal has not worn out on your foot.” Deuteronomy 29:5
More than ever, our clothes are made of plastic. Just washing them can pollute the oceans.
How much plastic is your washing machine sending out to sea?
Polyester, nylon, acrylic, and other synthetic fibers — all of which are forms of plastic — are now about 60 percent of the material that makes up our clothes worldwide. Synthetic plastic fibers are cheap and extremely versatile, providing for stretch and breathability in athleisure, and warmth and sturdiness in winter clothes.
Every time we wash clothes made of plastic tiny micro fibers end up in the water. Estimates vary, but it’s possible that a single load of laundry could release hundreds of thousands of fibers from our clothes into the water supply.
And these tiny fibers — less than 5 millimeters in length, with diameters measured in micrometers (one-thousandth of a millimeter) — can eventually reach the ocean. There, they’re adding to the microplastic pollution that’s accumulating in the food chain and being ingested by all sorts of marine wildlife, and even us. Most of the plastic that’s in the ocean, in terms of number of pieces, is not in the form of whole products like cups or straws, but instead broken-down shreds of plastic.
Consider the lint you collect in the dryer. That lint is tiny bits of thread from your clothing that have become dislodged and are caught by a mesh screen.
Similarly, synthetic fibers come off in the wash — but they’re so small, and there’s no filter inside the machines to catch them. Instead, these tiny plastic fibers pass through to sewage treatment plants, which often don’t have filters fine enough to catch them. (And if they do, the fibers may end up in another sewage byproduct: fertilizer.) Treated wastewater is then often dumped into rivers or the sea, carrying plastic clothing fibers with it.
So what can we do?
- Buy second hand: All garments shed more when they are new. Wear clothes for longer.
- Check the label and avoid synthetic textiles such as polyester, acrylic and nylon. Look for organic cotton products.
- Wash cooler: you can wash at 30°C/86°F is sufficient. Water in combination with heat weakens the yarn, resulting in much more plastic ending up in our oceans.
- Wash less frequently. Air your clothes out and wash out stains by hand to avoid unnecessary laundering.
Reduce the spin – lots of friction happens during the spin cycle. Skip the spin if you can or reduce the RPM (rotation per minute) – your clothes will also last longer and reduce plastic fibrers coming off.
- Don’t tumble dry. The heat and the mechanical forces inside a tumble dryer are also a culprit of microplastic pollution. Synthetic clothes dry super fast anyway. Air-dry your clothes.
If you have to use a dryer, please make sure to filter the condensed water.
- Use the shortest possible wash cycle.
|Choose natural fibres.
Synthetic fabrics create
microfibre pollution when washed. Look for organic cotton, wool, and other natural fibres.
Old Shoes and Clothing
into New. Take clothes to a tailor for alteration if thet dont fit/arent in style rather than throwing them away.
Buy clothing second-hand
clothes. This not only saves you money but ensures that the clothes you purchase have an extra long lease of life. Do a clothes swop.
Avoid bargain plastic items. These often break easily, like cheap accessories.