How do microplastics and microfibers pollute our oceans?
Every time you wear or wash your clothes, fabric fibres measuring less than 5 mm detach from them. Some will be trapped in the filter of your washer/dryer machine, but others, too small to filter, will end up in the sewage system and be discharged into the oceans. The numbers may vary from one study to another and according to the type material, but researchers agree that several hundred tonnes are released into the ocean each year. According to a recent study by Metro Vancouver and Ocean Wise, the majority (70%) of the microplastic particles found in wastewater treatment come from textile fibres.
Are there any alternatives?
What you can do to limit the amount of microplastic
Tip: Wash your clothes in cold water when using liquid laundry soap to avoid the development of bacteria in your washing machine
CapTen's initiatives to counter the phenomenon
- Browne et al. 2011, Environmental Science & Technology