This interview is part of ReCo Circular CityTM 2023 edition, Circular Sydney. For more information, please visit reco.net.au/circular-sydney
Did you know each year the fashion industry consumes 1.35 per cent of global oil production to produce synthetic fibres? These synthetic fibres also contribute to 73% of microfibre pollution in Arctic waters.
One of the easiest ways to help do our part is by switching to a plastic-free wardrobe and laundry routine. In this blog post, we'll explore the three steps you can take to achieve this.
1. Switch to 100% natural fibres for the wardrobe essentials
We all have our favourite pieces of clothing that we wear time and time again. Making the switch to 100% natural fibres for these items can have a significant impact on reducing plastic.
Opt for materials such as 100% cotton or blends of natural fibres like Tencel, linen or hemp. When the colder months roll in, consider 100% wool and cashmere if you they fit your budget.
100% natural fibres are better for your skin, but also much easier to recycle compared to synthetic materials.
What about active wear? Unfortunately, when you sport those trendy athletic outfits, you're essentially wearing plastic. These garments release microfibers into the waterways when washed, unless your washing machine can catch them.
When shopping for clothing items made from natural fibres, look for 100% natural fibres in the labels. Avoid ones that have blended materials that contain synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon or acrylic.
It's worth considering ethical brands that use organic production methods. They make sure that no harmful chemicals have been used during the manufacturing process. Research into the brands. Check out their sustainability certifications. Always make informed decisions before your purchase.
2. Reduce the frequency of wearing and washing synthetic clothes
Synthetic fibres such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic are derived from fossil fuels like oil and gas. Not only are these fabrics not biodegradable, but they also release tiny plastic microfibers into our waterways every time you wash them.
But it doesn't mean you will have to stop wearing the clothes you love. You just need to reduce the frequency that you wear and wash them.
By wearing less, you can keep them for as long as you can. If you wear it every now and then, it means you won't need to wash them often, and therefore, no flushing microplastics down the waterways.
When it comes time for laundry day, take extra care. Avoid washing at high temperatures since heat can cause microfibers to break off. Use laundry bags designed specifically for catching microfibers during each wash cycle.
3. Filter the microfibres to minimize plastic pollution from washing
Microfibres are small pieces of plastic that are released during the washing cycle. They are so small and light that it's hard to filter them out by wastewater treatment plants, so they end up in our rivers, lakes and oceans.
It is important to use a filter when washing synthetic clothes. There are some exciting innovations to tackle the microfibres problem:
Using cold water also helps prevent the garments from breaking off.
This Interview is part of Circular Sydney.
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Circular Sydney shares the stories of visionary individuals and organisations who are pioneering change, overcoming challenges and reshaping Sydney’s sustainable future. Circular Sydney is proudly supported by the City of Sydney Knowledge Exchange Grant.
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