Chances are, right now, you might be wearing clothes that are hiding plastics, but you’re definitely not alone. Over half of all clothing items made today consist of synthetic fibres, aka plastics. These include popular materials such as polyester, rayon, nylon, lycra, acrylic, and more – and they may be one of the biggest threats to our marine life.
In order to reduce these environmental impacts, we all need to work together to produce and purchase quality clothing made with more natural fibres and less synthetic fibres. Here’s all you need to know about the issue of plastics in fashion, what you can do to help, and what Bluey Merino is doing about this issue.
Why are plastics so harmful to our environment?
When we wear and wash clothing items made with synthetic fibres, they shed microplastic fibres that are so tiny that they easily make their way into our oceans. Since these fibres are non-biodegradable, they have a long lifespan of releasing toxins into our marine environments and threatening the small aquatic organisms that ingest them.
“Microplastic fibres are invisible to the naked eye, yet they make up 85% of man-made debris on shorelines around the world.”– Mark Anthony Browne (University of NSW)
Because of their size, these microplastic fibres are not as obvious of a problem as larger plastic pollution, for example, a plastic bag on the side of the road – but they are no less serious. In fact, even though we can’t see them, around 17 million microfibres are released with each load in the washing machine – running straight into our oceans.
What can I do to help?
Luckily, there are a lot of steps you can take to combat the environmental costs of fashion. Here are just a few lifestyle changes you can consider making to do your part in reducing plastic pollution.
Select clothing that is made mostly of natural fibres.
When adding a clothing item to your cart (online or physical) check to see if the piece is made of mostly natural fibres or synthetic fibres. Try to lean more towards clothing made with natural textiles like wool, linen, cotton, or silk, and less towards polyester, rayon, nylon, etc. Most online shops have the material breakdown in the products description, or you can find this information on tags.
Make small changes to the way you do laundry.
You don’t have to completely stop using your washing machine to help the environment. With these few changes in the way you do laundry, you can make a big impact:
- Wash less frequently – our merino wool is brilliant here, because it naturally stays fresh for longer and therefore needs less visits to the laundry
- Wash full loads – rather than a few small loads
- Avoid delicate settings – this uses more water which can cause more microfibre shedding
- Consider using microfibre catching devices
Invest in quality, slow-fashion clothing.
Extending the life of your wardrobe is something you can do that helps both the environment and your bank account. Fast-fashion clothing is known to only last maybe 1-2 years before it needs to be thrown out, oftentimes ending up at a landfill. When you choose quality clothing instead, it lasts much longer meaning you can buy less (and toss out less) to help the environment.
What is Bluey Merino doing about it?
Bluey Merino is a natural fibre company first and foremost. We source our premium Merino Wool direct from Australian Growers in Tasmania and New England, NSW. Our products are made of merino wool with special blends where function and additional performance is required from synthetics in the Outdoor and Urban Lifestyle segments.
100% Merino Wool is our staple fabric across 95% of our range. Our packing materials have always been shipped using recycled cardboard, and over two years ago, we moved to Starch-based Compostable garment packaging.
Removing plastic from every part of our garments, packaging and shipping materials remains a central focus as we aspire to be a 100% Plastic-Free Outdoor & Urban Lifestyle Brand.
Our Innovative Puffer Vests Made With Natural Fibres
As we work towards our goal of being a plastic-free company, we are proud to say that our puffer vests outer and inner layers are 100% Australian Superfine Merino with an 80% wool loft. While many puffer jackets are made with plastic or recycled plastic, our innovative puffer vests contain the smallest amounts of polyester possible. This Australian innovation is the first of its kind in the world.
Browse our men’s and women’s puffer vests below and join us on the journey to replace microplastics with natural fibres wherever possible.