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Perilous Plastics - The big fashion fight: can we remove all the toxic, invisible plastic from our clothes?
17 July 2019

Polyester fleece jackets realase microfibres into environment after each wash

More than half of all textiles produced each year include plastic. Now the urgent search is on for a more sustainable way to clothe the world. Report by the Guardian’s Simon Usborne.

It was probably the only time a 93-year-old has stolen the show at Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage. Sir David Attenborough had important things to say when he warmed up for Kylie Minogue last month. After showing scenes from Blue Planet 2, the wildlife series credited with inspiring a sea change in attitudes towards plastics pollution, the broadcaster thanked festival goers and organisers for banning single-use water bottles. “This great festival has gone plastic-free,” he said to cheers. “Thank you! Thank you!”

Kylie’s crowd was right to feel virtuous – single-use plastic is an oil-derived menace to marine life – but how many paused to look down at the elastic in their waistbands, the polyester in their T-shirts and the nylon in their shoes? Plastic in what we wear may be less visible than it is in bottles or straws, but it is no less toxic. Yet somehow we have woven it so tightly into our throwaway society that we barely notice it, even when it is on our own backs. Now there are moves – at the top and bottom of a complex global supply chain – to do something about it.

 “When I started doing this five years ago, suppliers wouldn’t even show me their recycled fabrics or they wouldn’t even have them in their bag,” says Kimberley Smith, head of production at a US clothing company Everlane. Since her company committed to eradicating all non-recycled, or virgin, plastic from its supply chain, stores and offices by 2021, her job has become a mission to demand more of them. “Now, recycled is the first thing they show us,” she adds.

But that mission is also about fighting apathy and ignorance among shoppers. “There’s a lot more pressure now to be more educated about issues like water and air pollution, but I think people aren’t as clear that, ‘Oh, by the way, your know your fleece or your Puffa jacket is made of virgin oil?’ I don’t think people understand,” says Smith, who has previously worked at Gap and Levi’s……………

If you want to read the rest of this article and learn more about the dangers of invisible plastic pollution then click on the following link: Can we remove invisible toxic plastic from our clothes?

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