Every year, Europeans do around 36 billion loads of washing and most of it contains synthetic clothes, releasing up to 9 million non-degradable fibers each load into the wastewater. Most of these fibers slip undetected through wastewater treatment plants and out to the sea.
Around 60% of our clothing consists of synthetic materials or a mix of natural and synthetic fabrics. Synthetic materials include polyester, acrylic, nylon, rayon, spandex, polyamide & others.
What can you do from home to reduce microfiber pollution from your clothes?
With small changes in your washing habits, you can reduce the number of fibers you shed. Print this list and tape it to your washing machine to remember these tips every time you’re doing your laundry:
Fill up your washing machine to the max: washing a full load results in less friction between the clothes. That way, fewer fibers are released.
Use washing liquid instead of powder: the ‘scrub’ function of the grains of the powder results in loosening the fibers of clothes more than with liquid.
Use a fabric softener: some ingredients in fabric softeners reduce friction between fibers so the release decreases.
Wash at a low temperature: when clothes are washed at a high temperature some fabrics are damaged, leading to the release of fibers.
Avoid long washings: long periods of washing cause more friction between fabrics, which creates more tearing of the fibers.
Dry spin your clothes at low revs: higher revolutions increase the friction between the clothes, resulting in higher chances of fibers loosening.
Avoid buying synthetic clothes: when possible, look for natural materials that have been sustainably sourced.
Innovative Slovenian start-up PlanetCare is the developer of one of the best solutions to microfiber pollution to date: a thoroughly tested washing machine filter that catches at least 90% of the released plastic fibers before they disappear down the drain. Clever technology and useful applications enable PlanetCare to develop a consumer-friendly product at a low cost.
Until regulations force manufacturers to incorporate a filter in new washing machines, PlanetCare’s filter is the solution for conscious consumers to solve one of the biggest sources of plastic pollution.
PlanetCare filters are specifically designed to catch fibers from textiles and clothes during washing and drying. You can order one of their following filters:
- Built-in filter
- Add-on filter
There are also other solutions to prevent microfiber pollution from synthetic clothes:
- Guppy Friend washing bag from Langbrett
- Cora Ball, microfiber-catching laundry ball
- Filtrol 160, washing machine lint filter
- Lint LUV-r, washing machine discharge filter
- Xeros Technologies, washing machine filter