As ocean lovers, it's our responsibility to delve deeper and understand the impact our everyday choices have on these pristine waters. One such hidden threat to our oceans is microplastics in garments, a consequence of our clothing choices that often goes unnoticed. In this Salty Souls blog post, we'll explore the environmental consequences of our purchases and why switching to eco-friendly materials like 100% organic cotton or recycled polyester is a crucial step towards preserving our oceans.
Microplastics are tiny plastic particles measuring less than 5mm in diameter. They originate from various sources, including the breakdown of larger plastic items, synthetic textiles, and even microbeads in personal care products. One significant contributor to microplastic pollution is our clothing choices. Many of the fabrics used in our garments, such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic, are made from synthetic fibers derived from petroleum. Washing these garments releases thousands of microplastic fibers into our water systems, eventually finding their way to the oceans. According to a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, a single synthetic garment can release up to 1,900 microfibers per wash.
The Numbers Don't Lie: Microplastics in Our Oceans
The extent of microplastic pollution is alarming. According to a study published in the journal "Nature Communications," over 14 million tons of microplastics have settled on the ocean floor. Additionally, research by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that by 2050, there could be more plastic in the oceans than fish, with much of it in the form of microplastics. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that around 35% of microplastics in the marine environment come from laundering synthetic textiles. These textile microplastics get into our oceans & seas via textile production, wearing, garment washing & disposal.
The consequences of microplastic pollution on marine ecosystems are staggering:
- Marine Life Ingestion: Microplastics are often mistaken for food by marine creatures, leading to ingestion. As these particles move up the food chain, they can accumulate in larger predators, potentially impacting their health and reproductive capabilities.
- Ecosystem Disruption: Microplastics can alter the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems. They can smother coral reefs, disrupt the behavior of marine organisms, and interfere with nutrient cycling.
- Chemical Contamination: Microplastics can absorb and concentrate harmful chemicals present in the water. When ingested by marine organisms, these chemicals can pose a threat to their health and those who consume them.
Choosing Eco-Friendly Materials: A Call to Action
As ocean lovers, our purchasing decisions have a direct impact on the environment. Making the switch to eco-friendly materials can significantly reduce our contribution to microplastic pollution and other environmental issues. Here's why 100% organic cotton and recycled polyester deserve a spot in your wardrobe:
- Organic Cotton: Conventional cotton production relies heavily on pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, which can contaminate soil and water. On the other hand, organic cotton is grown without these harmful chemicals, promoting healthier ecosystems and protecting water quality. The Soil Association reports that organic cotton production uses 91% less water compared to conventional cotton farming.
- Recycled Polyester: This innovative material is produced from post-consumer plastic waste, such as plastic bottles. By choosing recycled polyester, you're diverting plastic from landfills and reducing the demand for virgin polyester production. Recycled polyester production requires approximately 59% less energy compared to virgin polyester production, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Our passion for the ocean should be reflected not only in our admiration but also in our choices. By opting for garments made from eco-friendly materials, we can take a significant step towards preserving the beauty and health of our oceans. The Salty Souls garments are made with the oceans in mind. We use only 100% organic cotton or recycled polyester. The waves may seem boundless, but our responsibility to protect them knows no bounds – we are forever protecting our salty playground.