It’s no secret that too many of the plastic products we use make their way into the ocean. But you might not be aware of one major source of that pollution: your laundry.
Here is a list of the most common fabrics that release tiny fibers of plastic into the oceans:
Polyester is derived from a chemical reaction involving water, petroleum and air. It belongs to the category of polymers, which is produced by mixing petroleum derived ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid. When washed repeatedly, polyester fabrics can release microplastic fibers into our waters.
Nylon is a form of plastic. It's widely used in the fashion industry and its dangers are unknown. However, this material also leaches microplastics into the ocean every time it is washed.
Acrylic is widely used in the fashion and paint industry. This transparent material is made in a similar manner to polyester and nylon. Microplastic fibers make their way into the ocean's waters when this fabric is washed in the laundry.
This fabric is also known as lycra or elastane and it is distinguished for its elasticity. As a plastic derived fabric widely used in the fashion industry, this material can harm our oceans releasing plastic when washed.
5. Synthetic Rayon
A delicate material made of plants and polymers. Although rayon fabric is primarily made of plants, it is not considered sustainable because of its toxicity and the deforestation associated with it. Rayon natural microfibers biodegrade once they hit the waterways, but their plastic fibers will remain much longer.
We, consumers, have the power to motivate big corporations to stop using harmful materials in their products by voting with our wallets. We must start using new materials, implement new methods and clean processes that protect our environment, people and/or animals.
With great alternatives available out there, choose materials like cotton, hemp, linen, jute or bamboo instead and reduce the amount of plastic pollution entering our ocean's waters every year.