Microfibers found in our oceans can originate from a wide variety of textiles and we know the shedding from synthetic apparel is particularly problematic. With each wash, plastic fibers from synthetic garments are making their way from washing machines into rivers and oceans. The tiny fibers are extremely small and almost invisible. Unfortunately, sewage treatment plants, as they are, cannot effectively filter out all these microfibers.
To tackle this challenge, our consumption behavior needs to change radically: New materials that don’t shed need to be developed, washing machines need to include filters to capture fibers and waste treatment plants need to be updated.
Patagonia is taking the problem of microfibers shedding from synthetic materials seriously—committing significant resources to learn more about the scope of the problem and develop an understanding of what steps we can take to help create impactful solutions. For more information on our microplastic research studies and steps you can take to address this challenge, please refer to this post on our company blog.