Waterwise Wednesday: Plastic Laundry

Clothing, especially those made from synthetic fabric, sheds microfibers when washed. The microfibers are small enough to slip through washing machine filters, dryer lint catchers, and municipal water treatment. Synthetic fibers contribute to microplastic pollution in the nation’s waterways since they cannot degrade.

Reduce microplastic/fiber pollution with these tips:

1. Wash less. Wash clothes only when they’re visibly dirty or smelly. Sponge or dust off little messes and air out if it doesn’t really need a wash.

2. Do full loads at coolest temperature to get clothes clean when washing is necessary. This helps preserve fabric and colors.

3. Line dry. Dryers and heat break down fabric faster and increase shedding.

4. Choose natural fibers. Cotton, wool, linen, hemp, silk and lyocell are natural biodegradable fabric fibers.

5. Can’t part with the fleece pullover or nylon running tights? Try a guppybag or coraball to help capture the microfibers.

Graphic: Statista based on research at Plymouth University, UK

Waterwise Wednesday: The Dirty on Clean Laundry

The average US family of four generates 300 loads of laundry a year and uses 6,000-12,000 gallons of water to get them clean. Depending on the efficiency of the washer, each load uses 15 gallons (high-efficiency front load) to 40 gallons (traditional top load with vertical agitator) of water.

Save water by washing only full loads and save energy by using cold water and hanging your clothes out to dry instead of running them through the dryer.

Photo © Faidoi

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