A new study by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers suggests that every time a piece of clothing is washed up 700,000 microscopic fibers reach the oceans.
Thus, 35% of the myeloplastics released in the oceans around the world come from synthetic textiles.
To mitigate these aforementioned effects, the study also recommends washing clothes at a lower temperature, using mesh bags to strain the threads, using dryers less frequently or installing filters in the pipes.
In addition to contamination with microplastics, washing clothes also consumes a lot of energy and produced 1.2 billion tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) in 2015: more emissions than international flights and shipping combined.
As he explains Aurelie Hulse, lead author of Engineering Out Fashion Waste:
We have to rely on existing industry initiatives and, fundamentally, reconsider the way clothes are manufactured, even the fibers that are used. Garments must be created so that they do not fall apart at seams and can be recycled after they have been worn for many years. Fabrics should be designed not to shed microfibers when they are washed and the industry needs to see how efficiencies can be made in the cutting process, which currently throws 60,000 million m2 of scrap material into factory plants every year.