There have been a lot of cheers on the several bills in Sacramento on reducing plastic pollution, among which AB 2379addresses the biggest but least-known problem. It requires clothing made from fabric that is composed of more than 50% synthetic material with a warning in the label: “This garment sheds plastic microfibers when washed, which contributes to marine plastic pollution.”
Unfortunately the bill became inactive.
According to Ocean Conservancy, “Microfibers have become one of the most commonly detected types of microplastic debris in water samples, found in headwater streams, rivers, soils, lakes, sediments, ocean water, the deep sea, arctic sea ice, seafood, table salt and most recently, public drinking water. Such widespread exposure raises concerns about potential effects to wildlife and human health.”
From workout clothes to fleece blankets, who doesn’t have stuff made of synthetic material? What can individuals do, until there’s a bigger solution?
Try not to buy textile made of synthetic material, use and wash only when needed.
Hand wash if possible. Machine wash with a shorter cycle and cold water, run a full load to reduce friction between the clothes, which would release more fibers. Air dry.
Use a Guppyfriend washing bag that captures the microfibers released. (Available at Patagoniafor $30.)
Check out the Ten for the Oceanwashing guide by STOP! Micro Waste.
Help raise awareness on microfibers in the ocean.
Lagunans have proved that no personal action is too small to make an impact. This time, and once again, we’ll walk the talk on behalf of the fish, whales and all other marine lives without a voice!
Hoiyin Ip, Dana Point