Plastic Microfibres Are The New Microbeads!

Microbeads were so 2016! Remember, them? We all read those articles about how plastic microbeads in our toiletries were making their way into lakes, rivers, and oceans and being consumed by animals! Now I just rub my face two times a week with my cat’s litter; super sustainable! But there’s a new plastic villain on the scene, and if you’re not careful, it could be right on top of you! They’re called plastic microfibres and they exist in a lot of our clothing! 

Research conducted by Ms Napper and Prof Richard Thompson showed that massive amounts of plastic microfibres were coming off of acrylic and polyester clothing while in the laundry. These microscopic pieces of plastic are then drained from the washing machine, and can eventually make their way into our oceans! Napper and Thompson observed that an average UK washing machine load (6 kg of fabric) can release 140,000 fibres from polyester-cotton blend, almost 500,000 polyester fibres, and over 700,000 from acrylic fabrics! 

That’s just from one load of laundry! It’s almost incomprehensible to imagine how many fibres are being released everyday with the number of households and loads of laundry that are done! These microfibres are being found floating on the surface of the oceans, in deep-sea sediments, and within contaminated fish! Since they are plastic-based, they are virtually indestructible! 

So here’s where I’m supposed to give the message of “stop buying acrylic fabric”, or “polyester is killing the Earth!” but instead I’m going to tell all of you to stop spending money on clothing that only last a season! We are all about purchasing clothes and then throwing them out because something cooler comes along, and designers and manufacturers know this! That’s why they create products that don’t last much longer than a year! Whether it’s polyester, acrylic, or cotton, most likely it’s not made to last. 

That’s why it’s extremely important that we move away from this over-consumption of clothing and focus on purchasing items that will spend more time on our bodies than in landfills or oceans.