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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 - passed at the NFWI's  2017 Annual Meeting

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.

Read the WI’s new report

The WI has launched In a Spin, a report exploring the contribution of our laundry habits to plastic pollution in the oceans and wider environment. Download the report.

Take action

Our Wash and Wear Well checklist outlines small ways you can make a difference in your own life. To find out more, download the checklist.

For more ideas and resources to get involved with your WI – including our retailer postcard action – visit My WI.

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 the answers!