Environmental Hazard: Polyester Fiber Shredding

April 01, 2014

In pursuit of higher profit margins, towels, microfiber clothing, bed sheets, and similar products are more ever more cheaply. However, are these really low-cost products? How much of the environmental impact is taken into account?
 
A standard microfiber T-shirt sheds about 200 microfibers when sent through a washing machine. These microfibers are akin to plastic beads that pass through the water cycle, accumulating in water processing plants and into waterways and oceans. Since these polyester fibers are not biodegradable, this leads to severe, long-term environmental damage to marine life. This is especially a problem with the microfiber bed sheets and towels, where shedding is greater because of the loose fabric structure. 
 
Production of micro-polyester fibers as quadrupled in the last 5 years, largely because its softness and effective draping qualities has proved popular. These fibers are more hazardous than plastic water bottles, because they cannot be easily retrieved for recycling. 
 
How do I handle a micro-fiber product that I already own?
There is no easy solution, but here are a few you can mitigate the damage today:
  • Hand-wash all microfiber garments/towels/sheets to reduce shedding, as a washing machine will create more agitation in the materials
  • Install a fine filter in your washing machine outlet to collect and dispose of microfiber sludge as dry waste
  • Reduce microfiber usage and switch to natural, organic fibers

The best option is to vote with your consumer dollar for products made of organic, biodegradable materials. For more on our line of Organic Cotton sheetspillows, and towels, visit www.myorganicsleep.com




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