If you think choosing the fiber content on your garment is the only time to consider its impact on the environment, think again.  More than 700,000 microscopic fibers could be released into wastewater during each use of a home washing machine.  Those plastic fibers are finding their way into our drinking water around the world!  Now consider what those fibers may be doing to marine life!

In 2016, he University of Plymouth examined the mass, quantity and size of fibers present in waste effluent following washes of synthetic fabrics at standard Temperatures.  The study found that hundreds of thousands of minuscule synthetic particles might be released in EACH wash.  This study confirmed an earlier study, also at University of Plymouth, that indicated the laundering of clothes is a major source of microscopic fibers in our waterways.

The research was led by PhD student Imogen Napper in conjunction with Professor Richard Thompson, a leading expert on microplastics and marine debris.  The paper’s authors voice concerns that the quantity of microplastic in the environment is expected to increase over the decades with the potential for harmful side effects if ingested.

Though many have assumed the quantity of microplastic in the environment is related to textile laundering, there has been little research to date substantiating this theory.  University of Plymouth science research team is working to change that.to see more on this subject check out Microplastic research at University of Plymouth.