EDUCATION: Sportswear and fitness clothing fabrics.

12. October 2020 | Plastics, Material, Waste | via Nature.com

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Up to 300mg of microfibers released for every kg of commercial clothing washed (Credit: tookapic / Pixabay)

The increasing demand on synthetic fabrics, such as sportswear and fitness clothing, is causing a major environmental burden. To get a better picture of what's that supposed to mean, we would like to share a scientific report with you, issued by Francesca De Falco, Emilia Di Pace, Mariacristina Cocca & Maurizio Avella.

In this study, wash trials at real scale were performed on commercial clothes by using a household washing machine in order to gain reliable data about the release of microplastics, and to identify possible influences of textile characteristics on the release.

Results showed that microfibres released during washing range from 124 to 308 mg for kg of washed fabric depending from the type of washed garment that corresponds to a number of microfibres ranging from 640,000 to 1,500,000.

Finally the most abundant fraction of microfibres shed was retained by filters with pore size of 60 µm, presenting an average length of 360–660 μm and an average diameter of 12–16 μm, indicating dimensions that could pass through wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and pose a threat for marine organisms.

The release of microplastics from synthetic clothes is mainly caused by the mechanical and chemical stresses that fabrics undergo during a washing process in a laundry machine. 

 

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The Story of Microfibers