Fashion + Our Oceans

Swimming in Fashion

Let’s be blunt. Fashion is creating landfill and waste that is ending up in the ocean. The microfibers in the clothes can’t be extracted from the sea and ends up scattered around the ocean and making its way into our food chain.

Are you happy with eating plastic?

Plastic is meant to last forever, but clothes do not. They end up in landfills releasing harmful toxic gasses that destroy the planet. The packaging that we use to protect the clothing during travel or delivery, gets used once, maybe twice, and then it is thrown away, most likely ending up in landfill or the ocean.

We have all seen the saddening photos of poor helpless animals being trapped within plastic, and we all know the horrors of the mistakes made by humanity.

According to Fashion Revolution it has been estimated that 1.4 million trillion microfibers are currently in our oceans. So just imagine how much more it will be within years, if we don’t start doing something about it. Wildlife is greatly affected by this, and of course our actual planet.

So how is the fashion industry helping the cause?

Consumerism is growing more and more by the day, and businesses and brands are starting to look at ways on how they can still make their clothes, but do it in a eco-friendly way. Last year, 2020, the brand ‘Body Glove’ released their own brand of swimwear that is eco-conscious where the materials of the swimwear are all recycled from past clothing.

Also, the sports icons adidas have their own footwear line called ‘Parley’, which is made out of ocean plastics and recycled into suitable trainers.

What are microfibres?

Microfibres are known as synthetic fibers that are really small. There are two types of microfibre, one being the one that is used frequently in products that we use for cleaning, picking up dirt, removing make up etc. The other type is the microfibre that nobody likes. This microfibre is a pollutant, and does damage to our planet.

When we wash our clothes, little microfibers come off them and becoming a type of microplastic. The tiny plastics then travel through the pipes and then enter our oceans polluting them further and find their way into the habitats of said river and oceans stomachs. The, when the wildlife consume the plastic it can severely damage their internal organs or kill them entirely.

National Geographic released an image of a sea life creature that showed that even living in the deepest parts of the ocean does not mean they’re immune to the plastic floating around our waters. It’s not in their natural diet to do that.

The BBC reported that a group of researchers found out that one item of clothing can produce more than 1,900 microfibers in just one wash cycle.

So what can we do?

There are devices available to buy on the internet that can help prevent the majority of the microfibres from your washing machine get into the system.

This option is also known as the ‘Cora Ball’. The ball itself is mad out of recycled plastic and is placed in the machine machine alongside your clothing. When a study was conducted on the Cora Ball it showed that this little contraption captures around 26% of the fibres wanting to escape. After the machine load is completed you can simply remove the fibers by hand.

However, the fibers that you have collected by hand will need to be thrown away, which will ultimately end up in a landfill. This is not the most ethical option, but it’s slightly better than it ending up in the oceans.

How can we help?

A few ways we can help the situation is by switching our clothes from synthetic-made material to a more natural or cellulosic fibre-based material.

We can start educating people via social media or word of mouth that whenever we wash our clothes we aren’t helping the environment at all.

By buying products like the Cora Ball to help reduce the fibers going into the oceans.

People and fashion brands are starting to take more notice of how much abuse our oceans and rivers are taking due to consumerism, and it’s a small relief to see that big named brands are doing something about it.

But it’s only just the beginning.

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