How Our Clothing is Polluting the Ocean with Every Wash
The biggest problem facing our ocean today is pollution caused by micro fibers. Trillions of pieces of tiny fibers are released from our clothing every time we use the washing machine. It has been found that every time a synthetic jacket is washed an average of 1,174 milligrams of micro fibers are let into the wastewater leaving the washing machine. Flowing to sewage treatment plants that cannot effectively filter the micro fibers and up to 40% then end up in the oceans, rivers and lakes.
Several products have been invented to prevent this the Cora Ball, Guppy Friend and Filtrol micro filter a permanent filter that is installed to your washing machine.
“The Cora Ball seeks to protect the ocean environment with their easy to use laundry ball that catches microfibers shedding off our clothing. Inspired by the way coral filters the ocean the Cora ball collects our microfibers into fuzz we can see, so we can dispose of microfibers the right way.”
“If 10% of US households use a Cora Ball, we can keep the plastic equivalent of over 30 million water bottles from washing into our public waterways every year. That is enough water bottles to reach from New York City to London.”
“The Guppyfriend washing bag is a patented solution, that filters out the tiniest microfibers released from textiles during washing. The self-cleaning fabric bag is made of a specially designed micro-filter material. Simply collect the fibers and dispose them of properly.”
The bag is medium sized, the makers of Guppy Friend claims this is more efficient than having one big bag for your whole load of laundry. You would need a couple if you want to fit all your clothing in it. For more information their website has an answer for most questions.
Filtrol 160 Washing Machine Lint Filter
The filter helps to keep damaging materials out of your septic system and drain pipes as well as non bio-degradable fibers. This can also prevent small particles like dirt, concrete, metals from damaging sewer pumps and extend the life of your septic system. The filter is expected to last between 1-2 years depending on use.
Patagonia has taken a big interest in this problem. They have helped Guppy Friend by giving them a grant of 100,000 and testing the Filtrol 160, finding it highly efficient. As well as providing grants to non-profit organizations working to bring awareness to this issue. Using their influence to educate customers and researching how they can produce bio based fabrics. With a long-term goal to have a completely biodegradable solution for fabric and packaging that would not cause pollution.
This issue affects everyone and with a little bit off effort anyone can help stop further pollution. This is especially important for boats producing grey water waste that is disposed into the ocean. Supplying these for boat washing machines can create a significant impact.