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World Oceans Day 2020: How Fashion Impacts The Ocean, And How We Can Reduce Our Impact

by: Rosie Dalton | 5 months ago | Features

Image: via Ocean Clean Wash. Image source

Today is World Oceans Day 2020, which prompts us to question what we can do to reduce our overall impact. Because, as one of the world’s most polluting industries, fashion has a colossal impact on the world’s oceans.

“The ocean is the basis of all life and allows us to survive as a species in more ways than one,” explains model, marine biologist and environmentalist Laura Wells. She urges us to ditch single use plastics like straws, cutlery, and plastic bags. Beyond this, though, she recommends buying clothes made from natural fibres, which won’t shed plastic microfibres when you wash them.

“The fashion industry has a huge impact on our environment and oceans. One of the ways that has been heavily researched recently is the microfilament pollution entering our oceans through washing our clothes,” Laura explains. “Synthetic fibres are made from (petroleum based) plastic derivatives and they shed filaments of plastic each time they are washed. These filaments enter our waterways and oceans and are a huge problem to the health of our ocean and wildlife.”

Other ways to reduce our impact on the ocean, she says, is through buying pieces like activewear and swimwear that is made from recycled materials like Econyl (which is upcycled from fishing nets). This extends the lifecycle of those fibres and prevents more virgin plastics from being created. Opting for naturally dyed clothing is important too, as conventional dyes contain toxic chemicals that often wind up in our waterways and wreak havoc on those ecosystems.

Finally, the way we wash our clothes can help to reduce our impact. Hand washing significantly reduces water waste, for example, while Laura suggests investing in a laundry a bag, which will capture any microfibres when you wash your clothes and prevent them from winding up in our oceans.

“There are so many easy little behavioural changes we can make day to day that will help benefit the ocean,” Laura points out. So, this World Oceans Day, let’s make it our mission to implement those changes.


You can sign the World Oceans Day petition over here

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