Our Clothes Are Made Of Plastic & It’s Polluting The Ocean

It’s no surprise that most of the ocean’s pollution comes from plastic. We’re pretty aware that most of the plastic we use ends up in the ocean, so we use less of it, and switch to reusable alternatives instead.

However, did you know that most of our clothes are made of plastic too? Just washing them could pollute the ocean.

Synthetic fibers like polyster, nylon and acrylic, all of which are types of plastic, make up about 60% of our clothes today – like athletisure fashion and winterwear. They’re pretty versatile, cheap and breathable, so it’s no wonder clothing manufacturers keep adding them into our clothes. However, plastic microfibers from these clothes seep into the environment with every wash. Here’s how:

Microfibers in synthetic clothing

Microfibers are like the lint you collect from your dryer, but much smaller. They’re so tiny, they could simply drain out from our washing machines and end up in the ocean. Like a sponge, these fibers absorb harmful chemicals along the way and eventually get eaten up by sea creatures, including plankton. There’s no filter in washing machines that are small enough to catch them. In an average wash, about 700,000 microfibers from clothing get drained into the ocean.

Once it’s in the ocean, there’s no turning back

We can’t take back the plastic that goes into the environment. When these microfibers are ingested by sea creatures, we’ll eventually consume them too, even as treated drinking water. A study by the Public Library of Science found that the average person unknowingly consumes 5800 particles of synthetic fibers a year. Plastic, no matter how small they are, can take up to generations to break down. We’ll have them in the ocean for years.

Here’s what you can do to help save the ocean (and yourself!)

In this hot and humid country, it’s simply impossible not to wash our clothes from all the sweat and dirt. Yikes. Clothing manufacturers have started designing fabrics that shed less synthetic fibers, but we’ve yet to reach a breakthrough. Environmentally-conscious clothing made from natural fibers like cotton, silk, linen and wool seem to be the best alternative to synthetic clothing. Meanwhile, lets wash our clothes only when necessary, and opt for clothes made of natural fibers instead.

Did you know about the plastic that’s hidden in your clothes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.