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.

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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.

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February 24, 2021

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.

October 3, 2019

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.

August 28, 2019

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.

February 4, 2019

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.

November 14, 2018

“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.

August 26, 2018

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.

June 5, 2018

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.

May 24, 2018

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.

March 15, 2018

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.

November 28, 2017

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.

November 14, 2017

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.

October 14, 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.

September 26, 2017

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.

August 15, 2017

Setting up a steering group

Generation of a steering group of organizations to lead the fight against microfiber pollution from synthetic clothes.

May 8, 2017

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.

September 1, 2016

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.

May 12, 2016

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.

April 25, 2016

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.

April 1, 2016

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.

In the media

30 June 2019. Otago Daily Times. Time to pack it in.
22 April 2019. Public News Service. Earth Day: Oceans Becoming ‘Plastic Soup’
18 February 2019. General-Anzeiger Bonn.  Sympatex – Membranhersteller will Mikroplastik reduzieren
15 February 2019. Polymer Industry Media International. Products of Four International Famous Brands Tested for Microfiber Loss
15 February 2019. Dostop.si. PlanetCore s filtri za mikroplastiko
15 February 2019. Dostop.si. PlanetCore s filtri za mikroplastiko
14 February 2019. Ecotextile News. Major brands under microfibre scrutiny in new study
13 February 2019. Svet Kapitala – Delo. Slovenski startup s filtri za mikroplastiko v pralnih strojih
11 February 2019. Advanced Textiles Source. Partnership to curb the impact of microfibers in the environment
8 February 2019. Yahoo Style Singapore. Soak up the Blue Planet Effect and help save our oceans
5 February 2019. Frankfurter Rundschau. Mikroplastik ist die Achillesferse
25 January 2019. SchuhMarkt. Sympatex präsentiert Schuh der Zukunft
1 November 2018. Laundry. Spinning Out of Control
19 April 2018. Euromonitor International. How Invisible Plastics are being fought this Earth Day
16 December 2017. Huili. Katalat Pienet Mikrokuidut.
15 November 2017. Environmental Data Interactive Exchange. Adidas launches mass-produced ocean plastic trainers
6 September 2017. Plastic Pollution Coalition. BREAKING: New Research Shows Plastic Fibers in Drinking Water
30 January 2017. Local Authorities International Environmental Organisation. It’s official – we support the Ocean Clean Wash campaign
8 January 2017. Levante Emv. Las lavadoras y el medio acuático.
16 October 2016. Projecto Colabora. O pesadelo da roupa limpa
1 August 2016. Pagina 22. Sopa plástica
8 July 2016. Fashion Forum. DAFI underskriver charter mod mikroplastik
21 May 2016. Fashion-Post. Dansk (bæredygtig) mode hitter
17 May 2016. Luluunlimited.com. G-Star Raw Teams Up With Plastic Soup Foundation.
28 April 2016. fabeau.de. G-Star RAW will weiter Ozeane retten.
28 April 2016. Duurzaam Bedrijfsleven. G-Star in actie tegen oceaanvervuiling door microvezels
28 April 2016. just-style.com. G-Star tackles microfibre ocean waste challenge.
27 April 2016. Ecotextile.com. G-Star partners with ocean waste NGO.
27 April 2016. RuadeBaixo.com. G-Star Raw combate a poluição dos Oceanos.
27 April 2016. Praisemag.com. G-Star Raw x Plastic Soup Foundation.
27 April 2016. euroasiaindustry.com. Turning the tide on microfibre pollution.
27 April 2016. sportswear-international.com. G-Star further commits to clean the oceans.
27 April 2016. ruadebaixo.com. G-Star Raw combate a poluição dos Oceanos.
26 April 2016. Textil Wirtschaft.  G-Star: Initiative gegen Müll im Meer
26 April 2016. Marketing Online. G-Star RAW in zee met Plastic Soup Foundation
26 April 2016. Fashion United Australia. G-Star Raw x Plastic Soup Foundation: ‘Stop the microfiber!’
26 April 2016. Fashion United New Zealand. G-Star Raw x Plastic Soup Foundation: ‘Stop the microfiber!’
25 April 2016. Plastic Pollution Coalition. Calling On Companies to Clean Up The Wash.