Ocean Clean Wash is a campaign initiated by the Plastic Soup Foundation in 2016 to tackle one of the biggest plastic pollution sources in our oceans: microfiber release from synthetic clothing.
Synthetic clothes & textiles compose 60% of the global use of clothing material and release microplastic particles when washed and worn. Due to friction and washing conditions, microfibers end up in the environment.
The problem of synthetic microfiber pollution is complex. Switching from synthetic materials to organic materials comes with other substantial environmental costs. Therefore, Plastic Soup Foundation campaigns to address this problem and draw in all involved players: washing machine manufacturers, fashion brands, environmental organizations, and consumers.
Between 2014 and 2017, Plastic Soup Foundation was the dissemination partner of the Mermaids Life+ research program about microfiber loss during machine washing. After the termination of the Mermaids Life+ project, Plastic Soup Foundation launched the Ocean Clean Wash campaign to find solutions for one of the biggest sources of plastic pollution in the environment.
In 2016, Ocean Clean Wash gathered more than 100 supporters from around the world, including NGOs, scientists, and well-known individuals. Since then, the Ocean Clean Wash campaign has taken the lead in this fight and challenges the clothing industry.
Ocean Clean Wash has set the goal to reduce up to 80% of microfiber emissions from synthetic clothing in the coming years by closing the loop of the textile industry. To achieve this, stakeholders from all steps of the value chain are asked to come together to explore, promote and find solutions in all steps of the product life cycle.
Youtube show: Microplastics in textiles may damage lung cells
Speaking on The Plastic Health Channel researchers unveiled new findings which revealed microfibres from textiles may be harming lung growth, development, and repair.
During this episode, Plastic Soup Foundation introduced a new benchmark and label, developed independently from the fashion industry by CNR and Ocean Clean Wash, which enables brands and organizations to see how much their clothing sheds microfibers.
Plastic Health Summit
The research group of Professor Barbro Melgert of the University of Groningen presents their preliminary results on the effect of synthetic microfibres on our lungs during the first-ever Plastic Health Summit in Amsterdam. Researcher Fransien van Dijk explained that her team saw a strong decline in the growth of the respiratory track.
Launch of new website
‘Clean laundry, dirty ocean’: Microfibers from synthetic clothes are a major source of pollution. This brand-new website explains everything about microfiber release from synthetic clothes & textiles What are microfibers? Is my laundry polluting the environment? Are my clothes making me sick? But, most importantly, what can consumers and companies do about it.
Press release: Adidas, Nike, H&M and Zara products tested on microfiber loss during washing
In 2018, the Plastic Soup Foundation, in collaboration with the Italian research institute IPCB-CNR, tested synthetic clothes for the loss of microfibres in the washing process. The results were presented at the fair trade ISPO in Munich on February 4th.
“This is what you call fast fashion. It disappears in front of your eyes”, said Maria Westerbos, director of the Plastic Soup Foundation.
Read our press release for more information.
“True Fashion Talks: How to Clean up a Dirty Industry” at Fashion For Good
To learn more about the role of water and plastics across the fashion industry, Fashion for Good gathered more than 100 fashion enthusiasts in Amsterdam to ask industry experts: “How to Clean up a Dirty Industry”. For more details about the event, read the report on Medium.
Redirecting the campaign: Closing the loop on microfiber pollution
Ocean Clean Wash is redirecting its campaign in order to close the loop of microfiber pollution from synthetic clothes: we are tackling each step of the value chain and looking for solutions. We expect a reduction of 80% of synthetic microfiber release in the coming years.
In order to do this, we have gathered stakeholders from each stage of the product lifecycle that has shown interest in working on and promoting solutions. Together, they form the Coalition of the Willing.
Microfiber Workshop in NYC
The workshop brought together up to 20 stakeholders in the fashion industry from all around the world. The parties involved in the workshop covered all steps of the value chain so as to discuss the current research on microfiber pollution from synthetic clothes and the solutions & opportunities to solve it through collaborative action.
Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Annual Meeting, Vancouver
Maria Westerbos, director of the Plastic Soup Foundation, gave a presentation during SAC’s Annual Meeting in Vancouver. She presented the preliminary results of the tests of big four brands on microfiber loss from synthetic clothes. She also highlighted the gravity of the problem in terms of the health consequences of human contact with plastics as well as urging the fashion industry to take responsibility for the problems the clothes they produce cause.
Sustainable textile value chain in Gothenburg, Sweden
Swedish EPA and Swedish Chemicals Agency hosted a dialogue meeting within the three-year initiative “Dialogue for a sustainable textile value chain with focus on environment and chemicals”, in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Ocean Film Festival: A Wave of Change
Plastic Soup Foundation participated in the panel discussion organized during Ocean Film Festival: A Wave of Change, in Brussels, and discussed the issue of microfiber pollution from synthetic clothes. Plymouth University, Klean Kanteen and A Plastic Ocean also participated in the discussion.
Panel Discussion WEAR 2017
Plastic Soup Foundation participated in the discussion and Q&A “Fashion’s Deep Water Impacts” at the Worth Ethical Apparel Roundtable Conference 2017.
Publication of Mermaids Life+ research paper
Mermaids Life+ research paper was published: Evaluation of microplastic release caused by textile washing processes of synthetic fabrics, by De Falco, F., et al., in the magazine Environmental Pollution.
International Conference on Microplastic Pollution in the Mediterranean Sea
Meeting with scientific experts and discussion of the next steps in Capri, Italy, during the International Conference on Microplastic Pollution in the Mediterranean Sea. Maria Westerbos, director of the Plastic Soup Foundation, was the moderator of the discussion.
Setting up a steering group
Generation of a steering group of organizations to lead the fight against microfiber pollution from synthetic clothes.
Expert workshop in Amsterdam
Expert workshop and press conference “Fibres from synthetic clothing disastrous for mankind and the oceans”. The final reports by Mermaids Life+ are available to the public.
IUCN Conference in Hawaii
Plastic Soup Foundation and Parley for the Oceans Form Alliance to end Plastic Microfiber Pollution Through “Ocean Clean Wash” Campaign. Dr. Sylvia Earle, worlds most famous Oceanographer, is present to support the campaign.
Copenhagen Fashion Summit
Plastic Soup Foundation presents the Ocean Clean Wash campaign during the summit as well as its 100 supporters from all over the world.
G-Star RAW joins Ocean Clean Wash
Plastic Soup Foundation and G-Star RAW sign the Ocean Clean Wash Charter to stop the release of plastic microfibers from synthetic clothing.
Launch of Ocean Clean Wash
In 2016, Plastic Soup Foundation launched Ocean Clean Wash campaign to fight against plastic pollution from synthetic clothes. We gathered more than 100 supporters from around the world, including NGOs, scientists, and well-known individuals, in order to take the lead in this fight and to put pressure on the clothing industry in such a way that all stakeholders are involved.