Sunday, November 20, 2016

Laundry and marine pollution


What a chore. It's a must, though, and we've known for a long time that it is a potential source of environmental pollution as it carries so much 'product' with it. Sewage treatment plants have systems set up to deal with these chemicals. However the Marine Pollution Bulletin has alerted us to another unseen pollutant that may not be well accounted for by sewage treatment.

Key points from the article were that:

  • Washing clothes made from synthetic materials is potentially important source of microplastic into the environment.
  • The study examined the release of fibres from common fabrics; polyester, polyester-cotton blend and acrylic
  • Fibre release varied according to wash treatment with various complex interactions
  • For an average wash load of 6kg, over 700,000 fibres could be released per wash.

We can add this new consideration to the growing awareness regarding micro plastics entering the ocean and subsequently the food chain. 

Something to take onboard is that polyester/cotton blend fabrics gave off fewer fibres than other synthetics tested. 

Addtional reference:  “Our laundry a source of marine microplastic pollution” The Blue Reporters, 14 November 2016.…lastic-pollution/