Laundry may seem piddly compared to other lifestyle choices; but it holds quite a bit of power.
micro + nano plastics
Did you know that every time you wash synthetic clothing, little bits of plastic microfibers get free and washes down the drain? This contaminates our water supply, the food we eat, the ocean…everything. A single polyester item can produce more than 1,900 fibers in one washing. UC Santa Barbara found that a city of 100,000 people releases a wash volume of microfibers equivalent to 15,000 plastic bags every single day. Two ways you can prevent this:
i. the best way is really simple: do not buy new synthetic clothing- avoid polyester, acrylic, lycra, spandex, nylon, fleeces, and other man made polymers. Choose natural fibers instead, such as cotton, hemp, linen, silk, wool. These fabrics also have the added benefits of being breathable, longer lasting and looking more chic. Easier said than done, though, and it’s a process. For some pieces that are difficult to obtain in 100% natural fibers (leggings, bras, undies etc) look for brands that use the smallest % synthetic material possible, ie mostly cotton with a touch of spandex.
ii. For synthetic clothing you already have or cannot avoid purchasing, use a Guppy Bag to wash those pieces in. Wash these pieces less often if possible. If you cannot obtain a Guppy Bag, hand washing is much better than machine (less mechanical wear/tear = less fibers released).
iii. Demand to know what companies are doing to stop microfiber pollution and how they plan to change their products going forward to address this. As always, consumer change is only a part of the equation. Companies need to be held responsible for their part.