Each time we wash a synthetic garment (polyester, nylon, etc.) approximately 700,000 individual microfibers are released into the water, making their way into our oceans. Scientists have found that such microfibers are eaten by tiny aquatic species. They are then consumed by small fish, then consumed by larger fish, which brings plastic into our food chain. See more info #WhatsInyMyWash and on Stop! Micro Waste.
Even a recent study shows that wearing synthetic fibers exposes plastic microfibers to the air. According to the report, one person “could release nearly 300 million polyester microfibers annually into the atmosphere by washing their clothes and more than 900 million by simply wearing the clothes.”
- Choose natural or semi-synthetic fibers
- Wash clothes only when you need to
- Wash clothes at a lower temperature (30ºC)
Waste problem of the fashion industry
Clearly, the garments have become disposable. As a result, we are rapidly producing textile wastes. A family in the western world throws away an average of 30 kg of clothing each year. Around 15 percent is recycled or donated and the remainder goes directly or incinerated to the landfill.
Synthetic fibres, such as polyester, are non-biodegradable plastic fibres, which can take up to 200 years to decompose. 72 per cent of our apparel uses synthetic fabrics.
What can we do about it?
SustainYourStyle. (n.d.). Fashion & Environment. [online] Available at: https://www.sustainyourstyle.org/en/whats-wrong-with-the-fashion-industry?gclid=CjwKCAjwkdL6BRAREiwA-kiczMWoX-358AKhhrG81B9YcVAbukqGth0psUQCw6fh2URcX_uvKmqOHRoCoGMQAvD_BwE [Accessed 6 Sep. 2020].