According to The Guardian, synthetic fibers are used in 72% of our clothing and may release more than 700,000 microplastic fibers during washing. Microplastic pollution caused by washing processes of synthetic textiles, such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic, then can be ingested by fish and other marine life, thereby entering the food chain and our food supply. During the first researches held in the UK, microplastic from synthetic fibers coming from the washing process was found in sludge and beaches. Nevertheless, it was the first research that clarified the number of microfibers released during the washing of synthetic clothes. 4 According to the study, textiles, laundry, and washing detergents are the main players of microplastics pollution in the world's oceans.
The polyester fibers found in the Arctic are the same size as fibers found in water from laundry machines and wastewater treatment plants. Much of it is drifting into the Arctic from the Atlantic Ocean, which points to North America and Europe as the source of those fibers.
Using fiber-catching devices or filters in washing machines can significantly reduce the number of microscopic particles released into our waterways. There is a variety of products already on the market that collect microplastics released from your garments during laundry.
The Guppyfriend is a washing bag you put your synthetic items in, it protects the release of microplastic into the water.
The Cora Microfiber Laundry Ball is a small laundry ball that collects microfibres, which can be used more than 1000 times.
There are also filters you can actually connect to your washing machine, stopping microplastics from entering the waterways. For example, PlanetCare microfiber filter is a washing machine lint filter that has 90% efficiency for microfibers capturing.