The 7 Scary Ways Microfibers Impact Our Ecosystem

The 7 Scary Ways Microfibers Impact Our Ecosystem
Updated 1 year ago

When it comes to shopping for apparel, things can get overwhelming, fast. Many shoppers take into account style, fit, price, and comfort before making a single purchase. In recent years, we’re seen a growing movement of fashion-related concerns that are less about fit and much more about the clothes themselves. Shoppers are starting to wonder about just where their clothing came from, and how their outfit may impact the environment.

We’ve all probably worn microfibers, whether for our winter jackets, a cozy fleece blanket, or our extra absorbent workout socks. But recent research raises serious concerns about how healthy this is for our environment, and what possible solutions we have to replace this everyday item in our clothing. 

We’ve broken down the seven things you need to know about microfibers and how we can make healthier choices for the environment, starting with our wardrobe. 

1.Your synthetic fleeces are shedding, and it's a big problem.

Recent research suggests that on average, our synthetic fleece jackets release 1.7 grams of microfibers each time we wash them. And if you're washing an older item, you can count on it releasing as much as double the amount of fibers in each wash. This means a lot of microfibers are going into the water in our washing machines and being sent straight back to our environment. Not good. 

2. What's bad about microfibers entering our water?

To put it simply, the amount of microfibers being released into our water is seriously harming our fish. In fact, it has a negative impact on our entire underwater eco-system. 

3. How far-reaching is this problem?

The size of the microfibers makes them really easy for fish to consume and other underwater wildlife. Because larger animals often eat fish and small sea creatures, microfibers can easily bioaccumulate and end up in the bodies of the animals which consume fish. As the circle of life goes, these microfibers can end up higher up the food chain in virtually no time.

4. Yes, they’re similar to microbeads, which have already been banned in the US.

You've probably heard of microbeads before, which have already been banned in the US. Microbeeds are responsible for a huge amount of shoreline debris. Just how much is huge? Mark Browne discovered found that microfibers made up 85% of human-made debris on shorelines around the world.

6. So, how can we avoid microfibers?

One of the most common places we run into microfibers is in our outdoor clothing, such as our fleece jackets or exercise-specific tops, bottoms, and leggings. Look for outdoor clothing that comes with an anti-shed component or that you're able to coat with an anti-shed treatment. It's also desirable to avoid purchasing microfibers, period.

7. Changing the way you wash your clothes can help, too.

 There are lots of innovations happening in the world of washers and dryers. For example, there are amazing waterless washing machines which allow you to wash your clothes in pressurized carbon dioxide, no water needed. If you're not able to make that kind of commitment right now, you can always seek out washing machines with a filter.

Food3 Innovators Reveal How Their Companies Are Changing The Future Of Plant-Based Food

Dominique Barnes, Patrick Brown, and Kimberlie Le are leaders in the food industry focused on how to offer more sustainable alternatives. By leveraging science and food research, they are finding ways to create plant-based shrimp, fish and burger alternatives from natural ingredients. 

By Desiree Kaplan
21 hours ago
NewsCosta Rica Plans To Eliminate Fossil Fuels By 2021

Costa Rica's new president, Carlos Alvarado, plans to eliminate the country's carbon footprint by banning fossil fuels by 2021. While the timeline seems unrealistic, the country is close to fully running on renewable energy, but they have to fix their transportation infrastructure.

By Brian Spaen
4 days ago
Style'Be Zero' Founder Reveals The Waste-Free Staples She Keeps In Her Purse

Andrea Sanders, founder of Be Zero, knows a thing or two about creating a green beauty regimen. The popular author and educator teaches people every day how to create sustainable and mindful habits. And today, she's giving Green Matters a peek inside her purse.

By Desiree Kaplan
5 days ago
NewsLouisiana Creates Unique Plan To Save Its Coast By Diverting Mississippi River

Levees are built to help prevent the overflow of rivers and to save land from storm surges, but they've had a negative effect on Louisiana's wetlands. The state is creating divisions in these levees to bring needed sediment to marshes in order to restore land.

By Brian Spaen
6 days ago
Stay Green
Sign up for our newsletter