Research scientists are now working on measuring and capturing microplastics in our laundry.
Every time you wash clothes, you are releasing microplastics into the sea, but we know little about the amount and distribution of such material from different types of textile.
Globally, microplastics from laundry represent the largest primary source of such pollution, together with particles from car tyres. A study carried out by IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature) indicates that in high-income countries with good waste management systems, primary microplastics represent a more serious problem than discarded plastic articles.
In Fjong’s showroom at Frogner in Oslo, fine dresses in all the colours of the rainbow are on display. The company’s business is lending and renting used dresses and everyday garments both from its own showroom and via its website. The objective is to reduce our overconsumption and provide a good alternative to buying new clothes.
However, the frequent washing and dry cleaning of clothes is a challenge when it comes to minimising the environmental impact of the company as regards chemical consumption, water consumption and emissions of microplastics. The rental company has now become a “research lab” in a new joint-venture project involving SINTEF research scientists and industry participants, with the aim of making the laundry process more sustainable.
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Image via Norwegian University of Science and Technology