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.

The Time is Now mass environment lobby - 26 June

Join us in Westminster on 26 June from 1pm to 4.30pm to speak to your MP about protecting the climate and environment.

The mass lobby outside Parliament, organised by Climate Coalition, is part of Speak Up Week. It aims to highlight the breadth of people who care about leaving a legacy that we can be proud of for future generations. We will be joined by other Coalition members, including the National Trust, Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth.

We are the last generation that can realistically limit warming to climate-safe levels. The onus is on our MPs to take a lead in ensuring the UK remains at the front of global efforts to reduce emissions and pollution. Politicians will only increase their ambition if they see that we care.They will act if their constituents tell them they want change.

Register your interest in attending.

To find out more about what we are calling for, visit My WI.

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.


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!