But why worry about invisible plastic fragments escaping into the environment? Because microfibers (and microplastics in general) have completely penetrated into the earth’s ecosystem. Just as sea turtles can be suffocated by large pieces of plastic like shopping bags, so can the digestive systems of small animals (such as the plankton that form the basis of the ocean’s food web) be blocked by tiny plastics. When microfibers are soaked in water, they will leach out their constituent chemicals. Although it is too early to know the extent to which these chemicals affect marine species, scientists worry that they may be harmful to any number of marine species.
To be fair, synthetic microfiber, natural fiber It’s not perfect here anyone. “There are a variety of chemicals that can even be applied to natural materials to give them different characteristics,” Erdle said. Clothes made of them will of course be treated with dyes, but they are also treated with other substances to give durability or water resistance.
Scientists like Erdle are scrambling to better understand the impact of microplastics, especially when it comes to potential threats to human health. Researchers have been finding these particles in shellfish and other seafood that people eat. They exist in our water, in the air you breathe now.One Learn It was calculated earlier this year that adults and children consume an average of 883 and 553 particles per day, respectively.
But the good news is that when it comes to pre-consumer microfiber pollution, the clothing industry actually has commercial incentives to clean up its behavior. Many factories actually treat their own wastewater for recycling.If they can still isolate these microfibers and dispose of them properly (ie, don’t spread them in the field), they can be in the community with Financially responsible. “The company has found that by doing so, they can actually save water and utility bills related to sewage,” said Sam Israelt, chief sustainability officer of management consulting firm Bain & Company and co-author of the new report. “And this reduction pays a price for investment.”
“If we can scale these solutions across the industry,” Dempsey added, “We think we can reduce the loss of upstream microfibers to close to-possibly even more than-90% of the current loss rate.”
Don’t put responsibility and responsibility on you, the consumer, but you can also do little things.You can wash clothes in it Special bag Or use Washing machine ball Grab the fiber. There is even a special filter called Lint LUV-R that you can install on the washing machine, Learn Shows that 87% of the fiber is captured.
But in the final analysis, we just need clothes that don’t shed so much damn fiber. In fact, some apparel manufacturers are exploring potential innovations that can reduce shedding, such as using different kinds of materials or spinning synthetic yarns in different ways. “It is a good balance to reduce fiber loss without affecting the required properties of the material,” said Sophie Mather, executive director of the Microfiber Alliance, a non-profit organization founded by the outdoor equipment industry. We are exploring solutions for fiber fragments. (The consortium is not involved in this new report, but it is working with The Nature Conservancy route map Used to study fiber release in textiles. )
For example, waterproof jackets need to be kept waterproof, and elastic yoga pants need to expand without tearing. “It’s not just about putting a chemical coating on the surface and saying,’We did this treatment on it. It will stick the fibers inside, and they won’t come out,'” Mather said. “I think this is a very short-sighted view. It is more important to really understand how this fabric was put together in the first place.”