Campaign

About OCW

Ocean Clean Wash is a campaign initiated by the Plastic Soup Foundation in order to tackle one of the biggest sources of plastic pollution in our oceans: microfiber release from synthetic clothing.

slide4Washing machines and clothing made with synthetic fibers have changed the world in the past decades. The washing machine has brought us clean laundry without intensive labor and increased our personal hygiene. Synthetic textiles have brought a diverse range of attractive and affordable clothing. Recent new insights show that the combination of both contributes to one of the biggest environmental problems or our time: the plastic soup. As the human population grows and people use more washing machines and synthetic textiles, contamination of habitats and animals by microplastics is likely to increase.
Consequently, Plastic Soup Foundation decided to campaign to address this problem and involve all the players: washing machine manufacturers, fashion brands, environmental organizations, and consumers: Ocean Clean Wash.

According to a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) plastic particles washed off products such as synthetic clothes contribute to 35% of the plastic polluting our oceans, the plastic soup. Recent research has proven that we are eating and drinking plastic and that plastic fibers are literally raining down from the sky. We even ingest between 13,000 and 68,000 plastic microfibers from our clothing, carpets, curtains and other textiles per year.

Therefore, we must live with the fact that microfibers are a big part of the so called ‘plastic smog’. For over three years, the Plastic Soup Foundation was the dissemination partner on the Mermaids Life+ research program about synthetic fiber loss during machine washing. The scientific findings were published in Elsevier’s Environmental Pollution Journal on 13 December 2017 ‘Evaluation of microplastic release caused by textile washing processes of synthetic fabrics’. After the termination of the Mermaids Life+ project, the Plastic Soup Foundation launched the Ocean Clean Wash campaign with the goal of finding solutions to one of the biggest sources of plastic pollution in our oceans.

In 2016, Ocean Clean Wash gathered more than 100 supporters from around the world, including NGOs, scientists, and well-known individuals. In order to take the lead in this fight and to put pressure on the clothing industry in such a way that all stakeholders are involved.

In 2018, the campaign has taken a new direction and is determined to reduce up to 80% of microfiber emissions from synthetic clothing in the coming years by closing the loop of the fashion industry. In order to do this, stakeholders from all steps of the value chain have been asked to gather in a coalition that will explore, promote and find solutions in all the steps of the product life cycle.

 

The logo of the Ocean Clean Wash was designed by the famous graphic designer SIT from Amsterdam.

Timeline

April 2016 – Plastic Soup Foundation and G-Star RAW sign the Ocean Clean Wash Charter to stop the release of plastic microfibers from synthetic clothing.

May 2016, Copenhagen Fashion Summit – Plastic Soup Foundation presents the Ocean Clean Wash campaign during the summit as well as its 100 supporters from all over the world.

September 2016, IUCN Conference in Hawaii – Plastic Soup Foundation and Parley for the Oceans Form Alliance to end Plastic Microfiber Pollution Through “Ocean Clean Wash” Campaign. Dr. Sylvia Earle, worlds most famous Oceanographer, is present to support the campaign.

May 2017, Amsterdam – Expert workshop and press conference “Fibres from synthetic clothing disastrous for mankind and the oceans”. The final reports by Mermaids Life+ are available to the public.

August 2017 – Generation of a steering group of organizations to lead the fight against microfiber pollution from synthetic clothes.

26-29 September 2017, International Conference on Microplastic Pollution in the Mediterranean Sea in Capri (Italy) – Meeting with scientific experts and discussion of the next steps.

October 2017, publication of research paper with the Mermaids Life+ results: Evaluation of microplastic release caused by textile washing processes of synthetic fabrics, by De Falco, F., et al., in the magazine Environmental Pollution.

14 November 2017. Panel Discussion and Q&A “Fashion’s Deep Water Impacts” at the Worth Ethical Apparel Roundtable Conference 2017.

28 November 2017. Panel Discussion Ocean Film Festival: A Wave of Change in Brussels.

December 2017. Establishment of a steering group of organizations from all around the world to lead the fight against microfibers.

15 March 2018. Dialogue meeting for a sustainable textile value chain in Gothenburg, Sweden.

24 May 2018. Presentation at Sustainable Apparel Coalition‘s Annual Meeting in Vancouver

5 June 2018: Microfiber Workshop in NYC to tackle pollution from clothes

August 2018. Redirecting the campaign: Closing the loop on microfiber pollution.