Fibres from synthetic clothing disastrous for mankind and the oceans
By machine washing our clothes, we are polluting our seas and oceans. This is the shocking result of years of scientific research, which will be presented during a press conference at the Conscious Hotel in Amsterdam tomorrow. It has been proven that fibres from synthetic clothing are not only found in water, but even in the food we eat and the air we breathe. An International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report published in February 2017 also claims that the use of synthetic fibres increased by 79.3% between 1992 and 2010.
Cora Ball ‘catches’ microfibers from clothing
The Plastic Soup Foundation congratulates the Rozalia Project’s Rachel Miller on her successful Cora Ball Kickstarter campaign to reduce pollution. The Kickstarter campaign reached its goal of $10,000 within three hours and is currently at over $162,000.
Millions of minute synthetic fibers are released every time we wash synthetic clothing. The fibers are washed with the laundry water into the environment, enter the food chain and end up on our plates. The Cora Ball is one of the first innovative solutions for this problem.
The design of the Cora Ball is a form of biomimicry – technology that is inspired and based on mechanisms in nature. One potential solution for the problem of plastic fibers in the ocean actually comes from the ocean itself. The Cora Ball is inspired by coral’s ability to filter minute food particles from flowing water. The water in washing machines flows past the Cora Ball and the microfibers stick to its stalks.
To make the scale of the problem easier to visualize, Miller gives the comparison that if only ten percent of American households would use the Cora Ball, it would prevent more than thirty million plastic bottles from entering the environment.
Maria Westerbos, director of the Plastic Soup Foundation says that “This is a wonderful blend of female intuition and technology. That this project is successful just shows that the best innovative ideas can come from special people and that the cleverest ideas are often the simplest. Rachel Miller lives high up a mountain in Vermont and has just about achieved this by herself. This is laudable.”
Ocean Clean Wash Statement
March 2nd, 2017. Due to a delay, we were not able not launch the Eco-Innovation Challenge to stop the shredding of synthetic fibres from clothes on February 14th. Read more.
Ocean Clothes Are Still Not The Solution
We need to ditch the idea that we can easily clean up the oceans. We need to fix the problem at the source: preventing plastic from ending up in the ocean in the first place.
Are people who buy trendy clothes made from ocean plastic cleaning up the plastic soup? Or are they just helping greenwash the companies that make and sell these products? More and more brands are presenting ocean plastics as a viable sea clean up solution; they’re not. Ocean clothes actually contribute to the ongoing pollution of our seas!
Synthetic clothes made of polyester, acrylic and nylon, including ocean plastic, shed microfibers during machine washing and drying. Recently, researchers from Plymouth University estimated more than 700,000 fibers for every 6 kilos of laundry while the EU-funded Mermaids project even found higher numbers. These fibers easily enter the environment through the waste water.
So what’s the big deal with all this plastic shedding? Microfibers in water act as magnets for pollutants which then collect in deep-sea organisms, mussels, worms and oysters. A third of the food we eat is contaminated with microfibers!
Most of today’s clothing is synthetic and more people will be using washing machines to wash them in the years to come. It is urgent that real solutions are found to stop the release of plastic microfibers from clothes in washing machines. When we wash a garment that is made of ocean plastic, we return the plastic where it was retrieved, but now in an even smaller and more dangerous microfiber form that easily enters the food chain.
Read the full article here.
More than 700,000 plastic fibers for every 6 kilos of laundry
Clothing has been made from synthetic fabrics for more than 50 years. These items of clothing shed fibers during machine washing. It is becoming more and more evident that this involves huge quantities and that synthetic clothing is a large source of the microplastics which are polluting the oceans. Up to now there have been few studies on how great the loss of fibers is and under which circumstances the loss of fibers can be reduced. This involves washing at different temperatures, the use of different detergents and washing different sorts of synthetic fabrics, including synthetics combined with cotton. British researchers from the University of Plymouth have now answered these questions.
KIMO International is now supporting the Ocean Clean Wash campaign
The International Environmental Organization KIMO, with over 70 members in 7 countries and representing more than 5 million citizens across Europe, is now supporting the Ocean Clean Wash campaign. KIMO, funded in Denmark in August 1990, works on the development of sustainable coastlines communities by preventing pollution of the seas, protecting coastal communities from the impacts of marine pollution and climate change and representing its members at an international and national level.
Plastic Soup Foundation and Parley for the Oceans Form Alliance to end Plastic Microfiber Pollution Through “Ocean Clean Wash” Campaign.
HONOLULU, Sept. 6, 2016 – 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.
Today during the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress, Plastic Soup Foundation (Amsterdam) and Parley for the Oceans (New York) announce their partnership. It will combat one of the biggest sources of plastic pollution in our oceans: micro and nano fibers released from washing synthetic clothes.
Plastic Soup Foundation launched the “Ocean Clean Wash” campaign in April. After a strong response by the fashion industry, Plastic Soup Foundation is now partnering with Parley to unite their programs in the field of micro fiber pollution and to establish a united, global alliance of brands, governments, non-governmental organizations, science and creative industries.
Read the rest of the press release here.