What is the problem?
“When manufactured, washed and worn, synthetic clothes & textiles shed tiny plastic fibers that end up in the environment. Plastic that ends up in the environment does not biodegrade: it fragmentizes into smaller pieces. These tiny pieces, called microfibers, are smaller than 5 mm and usually not visible to the naked eye.”
These microfibers can’t (all) be filtered out by wastewater treatment plants, this is how microfibers end up in the seas and oceans, polluting the marine ecosystem and so end up in the food chain. Sadly for technical sailing gear we don’t have any viable alternative biological fabrics considering the performance we demand from our gear like waterproofness and breathablity.
video is in dutch only
So what can we as sailors do about this problem?
The first step is washing our gear less, on low temperatures, low spin cycle, with a liquid detergent and when using the tumble dryer, dry on a low heat. On step beyond is washing the gear in a special washing bag or installing a special microfiber filter.
So what does nohaca do about this problem?
Well for our yearly service we do wash and tumble dry the gear. Not only to clean the gear but also to reactivate the durable water repellent. So we wash and dry on low temperatures with low spin cycles. Also we installed a Planetcare microfiber filter for catching the microfibers which are released from the gear during washing and drying. You can get this filter for your home washing machine and install the filter within 10 min. reading the manual included! Of course we keep our eye out for even better solutions for this environmental issue.
Interested in a full list of solutions for you as a consumer? Go to oceancleanwash.org