But why worry about small, invisible parts of plastic leaching into the environment? Because microfibers (and plastic particles in general) have completely penetrated Earth’s ecosystems. Just as a sea turtle might choke on a large piece of plastic like a shopping bag, so small animals, such as the plankton organisms that make up the base of the oceanic food web, might clog their digestive systems with the tiny plastic. And when microfibers are soaked in water, they leach their constituent chemicals. While it is still too early to know how much these chemicals affect marine species, scientists are concerned that they could be harmful to any number of them.
In fairness to synthetic microfibers and natural fibers Nothing wrong hereعيب As for. “There are a whole bunch of chemicals that are applied even to natural materials to give them different properties,” Erdel says. Clothes made of it are treated with dyes, of course, but also with other materials to impart durability or waterproofing.
Scientists like Erdle strive to better understand the effects of microplastics, especially when it comes to potential threats to human health. Researchers are constantly finding particles in shellfish and other seafood that people consume. They are in our water and in the air you are now breathing. One a study Earlier this year, it calculated 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 contamination, there are already commercial incentives for the garment industry to clean up its business. Many factories already treat their wastewater for recycling. If they can also isolate and dispose of these microfibers properly (i.e. not spread them in the fields), they can be social And the Financially responsible. “What companies are discovering is that by doing this they are actually saving on the water costs and utility bills associated with wastewater,” says Sam Israelit, chief sustainability officer at management consultancy Bain & Company and co-author of the new report. “This reduction will pay for the investments.”
“If we are able to scale these solutions across the sector, we believe we can reduce upstream microfiber loss by something approaching – or perhaps greater than – 90 percent relative to current loss rates,” Dempsey adds.
And it’s not shifting the blame and responsibility to you, the consumer, but there are some small things you can do as well. You can wash your clothes special bags or use a washing machine ball grabs the fibers. There’s even a special filter called Lint LUV-R that you can plug into your washing machine, whichever a study Show captures 87 per cent of the fiber.
But at the end of the day, we just need clothes that don’t shed a lot of the damned fibers. In fact, some clothing manufacturers are exploring potential innovations that would reduce hair loss, such as using different types of materials or spinning synthetic threads in different ways. “It’s a delicate balancing act to reduce fiber loss without compromising the performance required from those materials,” says Sophie Mather, CEO of the Microfibre Consortium, a nonprofit founded by the outdoor equipment industry to explore solutions to break up fibers. (The consortium was not involved in this new report, but is collaborating with the Nature Conservancy on road map To research the release of fibers from textiles.)
A waterproof jacket should remain waterproof, for example, and stretchy yoga pants need to be stretched without ripping. “It’s not just about slapping a chemical and saying, ‘We put this treatment on it. “It will stick to the fibers, and it won’t come off,” Mather says. “I think this is a very short-sighted view. It is more about understanding the intricacies of how this tissue is held together in the first place.”