Synthetic clothing contributes to plastic pollution of oceans

February 23, 2017 - New environmental report shows that invisible plastic particles washed off synthetic textiles during laundry are among the worst contaminators of the world’s oceans and a treat to marine wildlife.

Environmental Impact of Natural and Artifical Fur Infographic

Environmental Impact of Natural and Artifical Fur Infographic (click to see in full size)

Small invisible plastic particles washed off synthetic textiles during laundry are among the worst contaminators of the world’s oceans and a treat to marine wildlife, a new environmental report finds out.

The new study  ‘’Primary Microplastics in the Oceans: a global evaluation’’ published recently by The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says that clothing made of synthetic fibres together with car tyres erosion makes up as much as one third of the plastic polluting of the oceans.

The main contributors to the plastic pollution are known as primary microplastics –  small plastic particles which are directly released into the environment through activities which people often don’t suspect to be harmful to the environment such as washing garments made of synthetic materials.

The reports finds out these primary microplastics attribute between 15 and 31% of the estimated 9.5 million tonnes of plastic currently in the oceans.

It also concludes that two-thirds of the primary microplastics comes from washing synthetic fibres and erosion of tyres during driving.

‘’Once again this report highlights the detrimental impact of ‘’fast fashion’’ on our environment.  We all have to realise that we need to be more responsible. Whether it is choosing to wear natural materials such as fur, wool or down and feather or simply using cosmetics without microbeads we all need to make better and more responsible choices, ‘’ said Mette Lykke Nielsen, CEO of Fur Europe when commenting the report.

Among the synthetic materials contributing to the plastic pollution is fake fur, which as a non-natural product made of non-renewable resources such as petroleum, is not biodegradable.

In comparison, according to an independently conducted Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), real fur is more environmentally-friendly  because, as a natural product, it lasts for up to 30 years. The longer lifespan of fur garments also makes it possible to recycle and reuse it for the creation of new garments, which yields significant environmental benefits.

Plastic pollution of the world’s oceans has a devastating impact on marine wildlife and the potential to harm human health when it enters the food chain.

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