Our clothes are made of millions of tiny fibres, many of which are plastic, in fabrics including polyester, nylon, acrylic and polyamide. With every wash and wear, these microfibres shed from our clothes and can end up in the environment. A single wash can release over 700,000 microfibres into wastewater, many of which then end up in the ocean.
Washing synthetic clothes accounts for 35% of primary microplastics found in the environment. With an estimated 9.4 trillion fibres released from washes every week in the UK (based on 2016 Napper and Thompson results of a 6kg polyester-cotton wash), it’s not surprising that billions of them end up in the ocean and on our beaches.
Worryingly, fish ingest these, which means they’re heading for our plates - 63% of shrimp in the North Sea contain synthetic fibres! Mussels also ingest them … You wouldn’t eat your shirt, but you would eat some shellfish.
The best way to stop the flow of microfibres to our ocean is to fit filters in our washing machines. Sign our petition to ask UK Governments to bring in legislation that requires washing machine manufacturers to fit microfibre filters in all new domestic and commercial machines, by law, by 2023 and that all commercial machines are retrofitted with microfibre filters by 2024.
In light of the current situation regarding COVID-19, we will not be bringing this petition to government until the timing is appropriate.
How this petition will be used
By adding your name you are showing your support our call on UK Governments to bring in legislation that washing machine manufacturers will be obliged, by law, to fit microfibre filters to all new domestic and commercial machines and retrofit them to commercial units already in use.
We will use the petition to show UK Governments that we, the public, are concerned about the amount of microfibres being lost into the environment and that the number can be radically cut with the use of microfibre filters.