Every year an enormous 1.5 million tonnes of microplastics are released into the ocean. That is a scary amount, and according to a recent study, these microplastics are contaminating even the remotest seas. Most of these microplastics come from polyester based textiles (73% of Arctic Ocean microfibres), which are shed in our washing machines and end up in our oceans.
As part of our Laundry For Good campaign, we wanted to share some simple changes you can make to your laundry routine, to reduce the shedding of microfibres, protecting your clothes and the planet.
Stella McCartney said “I'm not a fan of dry cleaning, or any cleaning, really.” Instead, she said, “you let the dirt dry and you brush it off”. For sturdier garments like outerwear: blazers, jackets, suits, coats and jeans, a Clothes Brush is a wardrobe essential. You use it to remove any surface lint, dust, hair and food particles and give the garment an overall refresh. Begin at the top and work your way down, brushing downwards in a gentle motion.
USE COOLER TEMPERATURES
USE AN ECO FABRIC CONDITIONER
HAND WASH (IF POSSIBLE)
Choosing to hand wash your garments gently can reduce or prevent your clothes from releasing microfibres, as the particles are most often released during strenuous washing – such as on a long cycle when the machine is half full due to higher levels of friction. A quick, gentle hand wash with one of our Eco Wash Detergents will naturally clean your clothes and nourish its fibres. Be sure to test any product on a hidden part of fabric and avoid washing garments with any decorative beading, sequins, tailoring, or padding. You can follow our guides on how to hand wash silk and wool at home.
DON'T USE THE DRYER
The tumble dryer is an additional source of friction on your clothes and microfibre release. Air dry your clothes instead and cut down on energy consumption too. Double win.
CHOOSE NATURAL OVER MANMADE FIBRES
Synthetic microfibres, not surprisingly, come from synthetic clothing. One way to reduce your own impact is to choose natural over synthetic fabric where you can.
According to VOX, "One 2011 paper found 1,900 fibres could be released from a single synthetic garment in a wash; another effort estimated 1 million fibres could be released from washing a polyester fleece" Synthetic fibres usually break apart in a normal wash cycle, and tiny particles wash down the drain, and inevitably get ditched into the sea. Look for clothes made from hemp, soy (yes we're serious - check out soy-silk or soy-cashmere), undyed organic cotton, wool or linen (which is made from flax) - these do not contain synthetic microfibres and can be more easily recycled.
The Marine Conservation Society have launched a petition to bring in legislation that requires washing machine manufacturers to fit microfibre filters in all new domestic and commercial machines from 2024. We're in! Are you?
Don't forget, you can still get the chance to win a year's supply of detergent (yes, you heard that, YEAR), and change your Laundry For Good. Just let us know your biggest laundry fail...