Most clothes these days include some form of plastic, such as polyester or nylon. Apart from having a large carbon footprint, these synthetic materials release microfibers when they are washed. These are tiny plastic particles that end up in the ocean, causing pollution and potentially getting eaten by fish, which can in turn be eaten by people.
Buying only natural fibers like cotton or linen avoids this kind of pollution. But, depending on how the raw materials are harvested and manufactured, natural-fiber fabrics can also have a large carbon footprint and may involve the use of toxic chemicals.
So, what can we do? Go naked???? Here are a few suggestions to minimize your plastic impact while still being able to wear clothes:
Do not wash your clothes more than you need to and, when you wash synthetics, use a microfiber-catching bag. (Yes, it’s also made from plastic.)
If you need to get a new washing machine, look for one that has a microfiber filter (they are becoming more common) and/or get a front-loader (top-loaders are estimated to release 7 times as many microfibers because they use much more water and the tumbling is more vigorous).
Don’t give in to the ups and downs of fashion: Keep your clothes longer.
Avoid buying new clothes and, especially, falling for what is known as fast fashion.
Buy or rent used clothes.