Four Simple Actions You Can Take this Week to Stop Plastic Microfibers in our Waters

by - Monday, July 22, 2019

We can see that our planet is hurting. From climate crisis to plastic waste, many of these problems seem so huge that we couldn't possibly make a difference. It's not true. By getting involved, using our voice, and supporting the people on the front lines, we can help. 

Each week, we share a few simple ways to get involved and help. None of these steps take a ton of time, but they do make a difference. 

Four Simple Actions You Can Take this Week to Stop Plastic Microfibers in our Waters

Microplastics have transformed our oceans and our own diets. Tiny pieces of plastic, about the size of one piece of glitter, shed off of our plastic-based synthetic clothes every time we wash them by the thousands. These fibers are washed out into our water sources and the oceans. These pieces may seem insignificant, but in such overwhelming numbers (trillions), we now eat and drink about the equivalent of a credit card every week.

This is a huge environmental crisis that most people have never heard of. But rest assured, all that plastic consumption will effect our health and our lifespans. But we can do something about it.

There are lots of things we can do as individuals- STOP buying any clothes made of synthetic fabrics, use a cora ball or filter in the washing machine we use, and tell your friends about microplastics! These are all important.

That said, we know that collective action makes a big difference. Here are some quick and easy ideas to help fight microplastics in the system, not just in your home.

1. Embrace the Filter or Cora Ball 

(and Ask your Washing Machine Company to Do it too)

There are now filters and balls out there that are meant to collect these plastic mircofibers in your washing machine before they move out into the water sources. A few recent studies have shown that these do work, so if you have any plastic in your wardrobe, this can help. We all need to work towards the goal of the plastic-free wardrobe, but this is a good first step to take for yourself (and maybe everyone you have to give gifts to in the near future).

That said, if we can now see that filters and balls can make a difference in keeping microplastics out of water sources, it is time to put pressure on washing machine companies to incorporate something like this into every washing machine they manufacture. Even better, they could retrofit something and send it out to the people who have bought their machines.

So, this week might be a good time to write the company that made your washing machine and ask them to add microfiber filters to their designs. Need some help doing it? Just use this letter as a template.

2. Join up with the Story of Stuff Project

The Story of Stuff is amazing, and you may have seen their video about microfiber pollution. They are pushing for legislation in California to stop microfiber pollution, and they can use your signature. You can sign their petition here.

Sign up for the Story of Stuff Project updates and to hear when you can help with a signature or getting the word out. This group is one of my favorites, and they are doing all sorts of good work. They are one of the only major groups to address this problem so far.

3. Make a Helpful Suggestion to Greenpeace

As I mentioned, most of the major environmental groups aren't dealing with microplastics yet. We need a few things to happen:

- Ban the manufacture and selling of plastic fabrics
- Require all washing machines to be made with a plastic filter

You could try to do this through the companies first, but if they aren't willing to do the right thing, this is urgent enough to require legislation.

This, to me, sounds like the perfect job for Greenpeace. They are currently on a plastic mission, specifically confronting the major corporations contributing to the problem (looking at you, Nestle and Coke). In all that awesomeness, they haven't touched on the microfiber problem yet. You can write them to ask where that investment is at. If you are a member or already give them money, you should definitely speak up and help get this on their radar.

4. Write your Favorite Brand

As companies try to keep up with the constant demand and low prices of fast fashion, they use plastic-based clothing more and more. This is unacceptable. If you notice that you can't shop your favorite brand and avoid plastics, write to tell them how disappointed you are. Tell them they have to stop using plastic fabrics.

Need a template to do this? I wrote you one! Switch up the wording to fit the brand you want to approach, and send it on their facebook, twitter, or email. Call customer service. Just put a stink up, and relatively little effort can have a major effect!

Four Simple Actions You Can Take this Week to Stop Plastic Microfibers in our Waters

How are you stopping microplastics in our water this week? Every little step or action we take creates ripples. Every positive ripple can turn into a wave. Help us save the world!

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