9 tips to reduce micro-plastic-fiber pollution

Reduce micro plastic fiber pollution

If you want to make eco friendly choices you need to be aware of soooo much. Eco friendly, plastic free, sustainable, ethical, fair, etc… It is not easy to find the right and 100% best solution so it is again about finding the happiest choice for you.

I actually never ever thought about my clothes were made of plastic before my plastic free journey. Even though I knew Polyester was not a natural material. 

I was mostly always looking for cotton clothing though, because wool is too scratchy for my skin. I don’t like to feel sweaty but I always felt sweaty when wearing polyester. Like it didn’t breathe (besides real active wear) 
I also get “electrically charged” quickly if I wear synthetic clothing and I just don’t like the feeling of many plastic materials. 
But mainly if I “needed” new clothes I weren’t looking at the material in first hand because I didn’t know about the problem. 

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Being aware 

We don’t think about these things if we are not aware. If nobody tells you: hey, we have a problem and you know what? Your clothes are a problem too.
It’s not only about fairness for the workers in the factories, it’s also about what your clothes are made of, how they get dyed. And it is about our ocean because the toxic water with the dye is going somewhere and plastic in clothes means micro plastics in the ocean.

Micro plastic fiber

Yes, if we wash our clothing they shed micro fibers. So tiny they get straight through filters. So tiny if we would have filters for those in the drains the drain will get clogged up too quickly. These micro fibers go straight into wild waters, rivers and end up in the ocean. 
In some parts of the ocean where pollution is high, they counted more micro plastics than plankton already. 

And all of the beautiful creatures out there feasting on plankton, eat masses of these tiny plastics now too 🙁

Dirty fashion industry

The fashion industry is the second dirtiest industry on the planet (Oil is number one).
The last years the fast fashion got more and more popular. People buying cheap stuff, throwing it away after a few usages just to buy new cheap stuff. No thoughts about where and who and how it gets produced. 
Only reason to buy: Cheap. So you actually buy more than you need easily…

And suddenly you will look at your closet and its filled with yoga pants, and fitness shirts, and dresses and pants, bags (I had sooooo many bags in my twens) and too many shoes mainly made of Polyester, and what is Polyester: Polyester is a synthetic fiber, made from coal, air, water and petroleum.

Petroleum is a fossile fuel mostly recovered by oil drilling and its refined into a large number of products like gasoline, asphalt, plastics, medications, single use/disposable items, food wrapper…

The use of fossile fuels will have a negative impact on our Earths biosphere and is damaging ecosystems. The burning of fossile fuels plays a mayor role in global warming.

Second hand or new?

I actually also always went second hand shopping when I was younger, mostly to save money and to find unique clothing, and I still do. But for underwear or running shoes or fitness clothing you need to feel comfortable with what you buy. Shoes need to be good for your feet or else you can get bad back and knee problems…

Second hand is great because no new resources are used, but be aware that old synthetic fabrics will shed micro fiber more easily. So when it comes to second hand you might also want to look for natural fiber first…

So yes I also buy new products once in a while, but I try to find the happiest choice for me. Like organic cotton undies, I will not ever buy conventional underwear again… Have you ever smelled on conventional clothing? They smell like chemicals. So so bad, you actually don’t want to wear them. That’s why you always should wash your new clothing before you wear them the first time.

Or headphones: my old headphones broke and I couldn’t find nice ones second hand and I couldn’t wait for another month or two until I find some. So I chose these headphones** made of 70% Bio plastic from the company House Of Marley I just bought in Montreal. (Packaging is made of recycled materials.) 

While second hand is always package free (now, not when they first bought it) everything else you buy new had been packaged. Even if you don’t see it. Every single pair of clothing came in a plastic bag, getting unpacked for the shelf life so we can shop.

So besides reducing the plastic footprint by bringing your won bag when you are shopping, there will always be plastic involved in the background….

Let’s Fix it:

Our grand parents and grand grand parents where still having long lasting clothing.
And those were not made of plastic but made of wool, cotton or linnen. If the jeans had a hole, it would get fixed, so did socks and shirts and shoes. 

If you are discovering a hole try to fix it. If you can’t do so yourself, try and find somebody to help you. Bring your favorite pair of shoes to a shoe maker. Fun Fact: If you buy a good quality shoe made of good materials it will first of all last longer and its better to repair. The cheap shoes made of cheap materials are mostly not even made to get repaired…

9 tips how you can reduce micro plastic fiber pollution

1) Think before you buy

What you can do is to become more aware about this problem and choose new clothes wisely! Do you really need the 5th pair of plastic sneakers? Do you really need the 10th dress in your wardrobe?  Become a little more minimalistic and choose clothes that fit together. If you can mix the ones you have together, you don’t need so much anymore. You will feel so much lighter if your wardrobe is not stuffed with too much fashion.

2) Buy natural fibers

Avoid clothes made of polyester, nylon, elasthan, acryl, viscose etc. Thats all names of plastic fibers. 

3) Choose the highest natural material component

Buy the product with the highest natural material components. Like if you have the choice between 90%cotton, 20%Polyester and 50%cotton, 30% Polyester, 20% Nylon, choose the one with 90% Cotton.

4) Buy second hand

If you buy second hand its great because you use whats already made. My first choice is always second hand, if I can’t find what Im looking for, I aim for natural materials, organic or fair trade new products. But if you buy second hand its even more important to chose natural fabrics because older fabric is shedding micro fibers even more easily. They just break easy. 

5) Buy organic cotton

Buy 100% organic cotton clothes. Cotton needs a lot of water, so conventional cotton is not an evironmental friendly product at all. Or buy linnen, fabrics made of wood or bamboo. You will see, there are already some great brands out there, and there will come even more in the future. And organic, fair clothes don’t mean boring and ugly anymore 😉 In Germany we have armedangels, and the avocado-store. For towels and shirts check out sandcloudtowels, their mission is to save the fishies, the ocean.

6) Wash less

Wash “lower, shorter, colder”. Use liquid soap (the grains of powder tend to be more exfoliating). A front loader seems to wash a little more gentle than a top loader. And don’t wash your stuff too often. You can wear your clothing more than one time.

7) Fill the machine

If you wash with a full load there is less friction on the clothing than when washing a half load. Less friction=less micro fiber.
And if you need to use the dryer, don’t spin on full revolutions. Low revs mean less friction too.

8) Wash by hand

Try and wash your synthetics by hand. This will not only reduce micro fiber pollution but will make your clothes last longer.
I always wash my synthetic active wear by hand directly after running. And then maybe once a month in the washing machine. 

9) Get a guppy friend bag

If you still have a lot of synthetics but you are concerned about micro plastic fiber pollution you could get yourself a Guppy-Friend, it’s a bag to wash your plastic clothing. The fabric is so tight, that no fiber can get out. So if you wash your fancy sports pants in the bag, it will stop the plastic micro fiber to get into our oceans.

And if you find the fibers in your dryer or Guppy-Friend bag, never wash them down the drain, then all the work was worthless and it goes directly into our oceans. Always put lints in the garbage.

You find a little interesting film about micro plastics here -> Youtube: The story of microfibers

Be aware that if clothings are made of recycled plastic they will shed micro plastic fibers too!!!! So yes, it is always better to use recycled materials, but please make sure to wash those products by hand or use the Guppy Friend washing bag

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