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Plastics - Clothes washing linked to ‘pervasive’ plastic pollution in the Arctic
14 January 2021

Comment on LinkedIn by Fernando Bellese, - Chief Sustainability Officer at PrimeAsia Leather Company

Polyester fibres that injure marine life were found in seawater across the region

Research published by the Nature Communications found that the majority of the microplastics discovered in water samples collected across the polar region came from clothes.



This is a strong alert for the many international apparel brands that have been disseminating dubious sustainability messages around the use of polyester as a sustainable material.

Often, those claims are made around recycled polyester and their role in recycling wastes from other industries. The pitfall here is the fact that those claims miss important information, and a lot of times have the goal of creating simple messages that will mislead consumers to purchase unsustainable products.

Taking the recycled polyester example. Even though recycling is a very positive thing, when PET bottles are made in recycled polyester, it requires a great amount of virgin plastic to achieve fiber quality. Not only that, the resulting fabric is not recyclable and will end-up in landfills or in the water, while if the same PET bottles were used to make new bottles, they could be recycled endlessly.

Companies should prioritize plastic use for products that have no viable substitutes. For the others, it should prioritize natural fibres such as cotton, leather, wool, and alpaca.

Read the Guardian article by clicking on Clothes washing linked to Artic Environment Threat