Nothing says summer quite like sweat stains, right? Gross, but unfortunately right. With the increased sweating paired with a hot girl summer courtesy of global warming also paired with a hot vaxx summer and all of us just trying to live our best lives, we’ve had something else on the rise. The use of washing machines.
You may be saying, duh of course we’re using the washing machine more, why is this a problem? Well, we also are creating more and more harmful microplastics with every wash and dry cycle. The New York Times recently published a study about microplastics and how they exist more than we ever thought. Your fast fashion tees? Check. Your faux silk dresses? Check. Your winter fleece vests? Microplastic heaven! The conclusion? These small fibers exist in most of our clothing, but the act of washing and wearing them loosens the microplastics which are then released into the environment and water supply.
“The face of that crisis looks a lot different [than we thought]. It’s not just plastic bags and soda bottles. It’s all of these microplastics that you can’t see with the naked eye that are pervasive in the environment.” – Alexis Jackson, a marine biologist and scientist
Now it’d be wrong to say that the study and original article aren’t dense pieces of literature, so we have not only compressed the most important notes for you.
- Microplastics are, as the name defines, tiny pieces of plastic that measure less than 5 millimeters.
- A study estimated that the ocean floor is littered with 9.25 to 15.86 million tons of microplastic.
- 35% of the ocean’s microplastic pollution (in the form of synthetic microfibers) comes from the textile industry.
- The major contributor is clothing, bedding, and other textiles that shed micro fibers as you wash and wear them (think of the piling or wear-and-tear of your tshirts). They are stripped by friction of the washing machine, before ending up in the environment. Studies show that synthetic fleece can be one of the biggest shedders.
- How do we fix the issue? One solution is to catch the microfibers in the washing machine before they escape. Products such as the Guppyfriend laundry bag or the Cora Ball.
- Another is to buy items made from natural fibers instead of nylon and polyester. Though this is tricky since many natural fiber items still contain some chemicals to offer features such as: water and stain resistance, as well as antimicrobial properties.
- Though neither of these will single handedly solve the microplastic pollution problem. As of now, the microplastics recycling back into our environment is frightening. They are in food as well as bottled and tap water, beer, and sea salt.
- “American consumption of microplastics are likely drastic underestimates” (American Chemical Society, 2019)
If you want to limit your microfiber consumption and use, the best way to do so is to either buy a filter for your washing machine, or to catch the issue at its root and start buying products made from natural fibers and materials. Below we’ve compiled a list of the best alternatives to your home staples. Because not only does the Earth deserve better, YOU deserve it too.
Towel: Sömn Home
The towel so soft and fluffy that you’ll just HAVE to sit on the edge of your bed for a few hours and just contemplate life. Made in Japan with 100% Organic Cotton, and is OEKO-TEX certified (meaning it is non-toxic and safe for people, and babies especially).
Sömn Eco Cotton Bamboo Bath Towel
Make your bed a safe space with the sheets that are made with CleanBamboo™. A silky-soft bamboo lyocell fabric made from 100% organic bamboo and is Oeko-Tex certified.
Signature Sateen Fitted Sheet
Your New Fav Tee: Industry Standard
Made from 100% organic cotton, this tee is so cute and will easily become a closet staple for that effortless Parisian i-dont-care look..
The Maxime Amour Tee
Muscle Up, Muscle Tank: The Standard Stitch
Let your arms (and pits) breathe this summer with this tank made from 50% organic cotton and 50% recycled cotton.
The Vintage Tank
The Standard Stitch
Hug Your Ass: Knickey
Your body will know the difference with these 95% cotton undies (which you’ll love so much they’ll be getting washed ALL the time).