Let's talk about plastics, in particular the plastic that many of us on a plastic free journey have either forgotten about, or can't avoid. We can cut out the plastic bags, the plastic straws, the plastic bottles and all those other plastics we can easily see.
But, what about those that we can't see so easily? What about the plastics that are microplastics? Those that are in synthetic materials, like polyester and lycra. We may have clothes made from them. The often popular microfiber cleaning cloths. And you know the one that gets me the most...cloth nappies...yep that's right full of microplastics. So while we're trying to help the planet by not using disposable nappies, we're adding to a massive amount of plastic in our rivers, waterways and oceans.
Another HUGE cause for concern with microfibers and microplastics is the toxic levels in them, some of them are endocrine disruptors (if you're not sure what this is check out my Toxic Knowledge). And if those endocrine disruptors are going into the waterways they are eventually going to make it onto our plates and into our glasses, and then into our bodies.
Did you know polyester is used in 60% of the clothing we buy today. Have a look at the clothes that hang in your wardrobe, you'll be surprised. And the more you wash them the more the fibers breakdown, thus creating even more microplastics.
And let's not forget the fossil fuels used in the production, CO2 emissions used for polyester production are nearly 3 times more than cotton.
One item of clothing can release 700,000 fibers in a single wash! Between 15 - 31% of marine plastics could be from microplastics released from household and industrial products a report by UICN found. And 35% of that comes from washing synthetic textiles.
Europe and central Asia dump the equivalent of 54 plastic bags full of microplastics per person per week into the ocean!
Here are some of things I am going to do to help.
1. Invest in a Guppyfriend washing bag or a Cora Ball. When washing fabrics pop these in the machine and they will catch those nasty microfibers before they leave the machine.
2. I already do this, but I know some people use them so. Microfiber cloth, ditch them now. Theres a reason they are cheap! Cut up old 100% cotton towels, flannels, shirts, bed sheets or (one of my faves) baby muslins. They are awesome, and free.
3. Think before you buy, I don't buy fast fashion anymore as it is the second biggest contributor to the environmental issues we face today. Go secondhand or vintage. Buy better, through brands that are environmentally friendly. Check their company ethics.
4. Wash clothes and material less frequently. If it doesn't look or smell dirty then chances are it doesn't need to be washed. Obviously nappies need washing after every use, so perhaps invest in No 1.
5. Think differently. We can stop looking for cheap convenience. STOP RIGHT NOW! Think about it. We live in a convenience world, we want everything and we want it now, but to what cost? The cost of our health? The cost of our families? The cost of the world? Really? Less convenience living, more conscious living.
I found some of the information from www.GreenPeace.org and www.thethamesproject.org