Plastic waste is increasing in our water. The ocean conservation project, Plastic Soup Foundation has the following statement on their website, “Every minute, the equivalent of one full garbage truck of plastic trash is dumped in the sea. That is 1440 trucks per 24 hours and 8 BILLION kilos per year.” Staggering numbers.
Sadly, the case of a beached whale in Norway highlighted how damaging this plastic waste is on our marine life. Severely malnourished, the whale had to be euthanised. The discovery that the whale had a stomach full of plastic bags made headlines around the world.
All this plastic breaks apart in the water creating microplastics, which is consumed by marine life of all sizes. Research is showing that microfibres are more prevalent than we think. A study from 2011 suggests that as much as 85% of human-made debris on shores around the world comes from microfibres.
What might be news, however, is that your choice of clothes could be contributing to this so-called plastic soup. Whenever you wash synthetics, tiny strands (micro-beads and microfibres) are released and machine washing exacerbates this. These fibres are washed down the drain with the water eventually ending up in our waterways and oceans being consumed by fish and ultimately humans. A problem of this magnitude needs a multi-faceted solution.
As a consumer, you can start contributing to the solution by exercising green procurement (choosing environmentally friendly goods, services, and work). Making the right choices can help to reduce the microfibre waste in our water. Investing in good quality clothing made from natural, biodegradable fabrics such as wool, cashmere, and organic cotton, is a good place to start. Natural fabrics offer a better long-term solution. Generally, such clothing will last longer and requires less frequent washing.
Wool, which is 100% biodegradable, natural, and renewable, often provides even better performance qualities than synthetics. It has the added bonus of not needing to be washed after each wear. By airing your wool garment the natural action of absorption and desorption of moisture will help cleanse the fibre.
Not only is wool an eco-friendly choice, it is also a highly functional and fashionable performance material. Innovations within the textile industry continue to increase the trans-seasonal usage of wool. Take for example, our HD Wool®. Lightweight and breathable, garments using this material naturally adjust to your body's thermal and moisture balance, improve perspiration comfort and keep you drier from the inside.
In addition, our wool products are ethical and traceable. Our hand-selected pure wool is ethically grown and has a transparent and traceable route to the source.
So next time you purchase a new item of clothing think about more than just the price tag when you make your decision to buy. Consider its social, ethical, and environmental impact as well.
And if you see a plastic bag on the ground, don’t just walk by, pick it up and dispose of it responsibly. Every little action helps!