When people think about marine litter, they mostly think about plastic bags or water bottles being blown into rivers and ending up in the ocean. Synthetic clothing, however, is a huge cause of plastic pollution in the ocean. More than one-third of all primary microplastics in our oceans come from synthetic clothing or other textiles.
Acrylic, polyester, and nylon are the biggest culprits. Every time we wash our clothes, millions of minute plastic particles drift away in the water. These microplastics are so small that they slip through the filters in wastewater treatment plants. They then enter rivers and oceans and find their way into shellfish and other fish; and yes, eventually, they get into our own bodies as well.
It’s time to clean up our act!
The Plastic Soup Foundation started the Ocean Clean Wash campaign in 2016. Our goal is to reduce synthetic fibre pollution by 80% in the coming years. The only way we can do this is by finding solutions in every phase of the textile production process and involving all parties and stakeholders. In our campaign, we exert pressure on clothing and washing machine manufacturers, support the development of products that prevent the flow of fibres, and call on consumers to think about what they can do to help.