Day 4 of this challenge, and still going strong. My previous post I spoke about pollution and the fashion industry. It is the second largest global polluter, second only the the oil industry. A part of why it is such a large polluter is the use of plastic in our fabrics. I’ll be honest, years ago when I first learned about this I didn’t believe it! How can plastic be in the clothes we wear, and a better question, why? I just couldn’t wrap my head around it all, and learning about it solidified the fact that plastic is now everywhere in everything, and as our world has been learning recently it may even be in the food we eat.
Polyester, nylon, acrylic, and other synthetic blends make up 60% of our clothing worldwide. Fast fashion (read about it here) is creating cheaper clothing for faster consumption, and one reason why is the incredibly cheap cost of plastic as a fabric.
What we know about plastic is that it is brittle and can be broken down easily into smaller and smaller pieces if exposed to extreme heat, harsh environments or with just a lot of use. This also happens when it is in our clothing. With continued use and with continual washing, plastics break off of our clothing into very small pieces.
Watch this short video for great introductory information on the topic:
As you just watched, hundreds of thousands of these microfibers are being released from our clothing with each wash. They are too small to be filtered out by waste treatment plants, and end up in our lakes and oceans.
“Plastic fibers are now showing up in fish and shellfish sold in in California and Indonesia for human consumption. And one paper showed that microfibers are responsible for 85 percent of shoreline pollution across the globe. (PlasticPolutionCoalition).”
When I first learned about this, I felt very overwhelmed. How do you stop something that seems impossible to stop? I kept thinking, not only are we dealing with the full sized pieces of plastic that are polluting our world, not we have to deal with it on a micro-scale?
I still sometimes feel overwhelmed by it, and if you do to, and are wondering what you can do about it, check out Plastic Pollution Coalition’s list of 15 ways you can stop micro fibre pollution here.
For the remainder of the Challenge, expect posts about:
- alternative fabrics
- thrift stores
- slow fashion