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End Plastic Soup

Microplastic fibres are shed from synthetic clothing with every wash and are the main contributors to microplastic contamination of the oceans. The NFWI calls on Government and industry to research and develop innovative solutions to this problem in order to stop the accumulation of microplastic fibres in our oceans

Ashley Green WI, Buckinghamshire Federation 

What are microplastic fibres?

Microplastics are plastic particles smaller than 5mm. A major source of microplastic pollution is from synthetic fibres, which are small strands of plastic that can come loose from clothing in the washing cycle. As they are too small to be caught by washing machine filters and the sewage system, they end up in the sea and wider environment.

Due to their small size the fibres can be ingested by aquatic life, posing a health risk to them. Microplastics are also entering the food chain, the long-term effects of which are unknown.

Our Wash and Wear Well checklist outlines small ways you can make a difference in your own life, download it here.

FAQs

The issue of microplastic fibres is complex and involves a wide range of stakeholders, from the clothing industry to the waste water treatment industry and washing machine manufacturers. PhD student at Plymouth University Imogen Napper answered some of your most frequently asked questions about the issue. Download them here!

Raise awareness

  • Share our Wash and Wear Well checklist with your community. It outlines small ways you can make a difference in your own life. Download the checklist here. We can also send out physical copies, just email pa@nfwi.org.uk
  • Hold an End Plastic Soup awareness day in your community using ideas from our action pack, including holding a quiz to test your knowledge. Download the action pack here
  • Use our End Plastic Soup video above to educate people in your community on the issue and ways they can help!
  • Why not visit your local sewage centre to find out more about how they are looking at the issue? Or invite your local water company to speak at your meetings? Find your local supplier here.