Many of us know about the various plastics that float in the sea and the plastic bags that the wind drives across our streets and into waterways, but did you know about the tiny plastics within the clothes you wear?
Synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon and elastane release micro plastics that aren't able to be caught by the filters within washing machines and flow right into our water ways and oceans. The horror doesn't stop there, as these micro plastics are consumed by planktons and fishes and make their way up the food chain into our own meals and bodies. ACK!
According to one study,
"They found that acrylic was the worst offender, releasing nearly 730,000 tiny synthetic particles per wash, five times more than polyester-cotton blend fabric, and nearly 1.5 times as many as polyester. These microfibres track through domestic wastewater into sewage treatment plants where some of the tiny plastic fragments are captured as part of sewage sludge. The rest pass through into rivers and eventually, oceans. A paper published in 2011 found that microfibres made up 85% of human-made debris on shorelines around the world. The impact of microplastic pollution is not fully understood but studies have suggested that it has the potential to poison the food chain, build up in animals’ digestive tracts, reduce the ability of some organisms to absorb energy from foods in the normal way and even to change the behaviour of crabs." ( See more here )
Instead, choosing natural fabrics such as cotton or linen for our clothing/bedding/etc makes a large difference in our consumerism and environmental impact. There are also many great companies that have started using recycled plastics for activewear and swimwear. All it takes is a little extra research of where our products are coming from and how they are made, and this way we have healthier materials for our own bodies as well as for the environment around us, eventually impacting the food we eat. Some brands shared by our mermaid friend Kate Nelson (@plasticfreemermaid) include @econylbrand and @arnhem_clothing. There are plenty more where that comes from, and a great place to start are sustainable companies such as @shopearthhero that make sure to be as conscious as possible in their retail work.
Please check out a few of these companies, share any other methods to be a conscious consumer that work for you, and be mindful in all of your everyday decisions and impacts because even if they don't seem to be a big deal... they often are (no matter how small they seem, like micro plastics!)