Stop marine microplastic pollution

Marine microplastic pollution is very tiny (< 1/4") pieces of plastic that wash into the oceans. Some of these pieces are almost microscopic. Many are tiny fibers that wash out of our clothes in the laundry.

Marine microplastic pollution is harmful because it gets into the food chain. Tiny plankton cling to the plastic fibers. These are eaten by baby fish which are then the base of a much larger food chain, culminating in fish and seafood eaten by humans.

The microfibers are pulled out of our synthetic clothing in the washing machine. This gradually degrades the clothing as well as polluting the water.

A European firm has developed a tightly-woven polyester monofilament bag to protect the clothes and capture the microfibers. This is a nice idea but I can’t see spending $35 for a garment washing bag. There are several alternative washing bags that are cheaper. I’d have to look at them to see how tightly woven they are (to filter detached fibers).

To preserve your clothes and help protect the oceans

  1. Buy natural fiber (biodegradable) fabrics instead of synthetic.
  2. Wash on “gentle” instead of “regular” to reduce abrasion in the wash.
  3. Put the most likely to “shed” (e.g. fleece) in a garment washing bag.
  4. Hang to air-dry instead of in the dryer.


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I’m not sure how this helps exactly. Maybe the lint collected in your dryer somehow ends up in the ocean?

I’ve also hear that carpet fibers were one of the most detected fibers in the ocean. Seemed like a ridiculous claim. A few year ago I had some carpet replaced and the installers did a very careful and nice job.
(By coincidence when the company showed up to do the install the lead installer happened to be someone I knew from my racquetball gym for 10+ years). But years later I still find a few ~1/2" to 1" in my front garden every so often. No doubt that some blew to the gutter and down the storm drains.


This is to preserve your clothing, since the tumbling in the dryer removes fibers which gradually wears out the fabric. This has nothing to do with the oceans.



Hi @mschmit,

Washing “plastic” in your washer contributes micro-plastic beads to every water system on the discharge side of your washer.

Micro-plastics go through many filters and are found in all surface waters from ponds, creeks, rivers, lakes and oceans.

Micro-plastics are also found in ground water sources in many areas through percolation from the surface. This is one way they get into your bloodstream.

All the various types of plastic that end up in landfills contribute to ground water contamination.

The plastic bottles, bags, etc in surface areas on land or in the water are degraded by solar exposure and slough-off micro beads faster. Add some mechanical action and the break-down is faster.

Plastics are the new wear-edges on many farm implements. Shields on chisel plows, guides on headers to align plants going into combines and mower-conditioners and other places.

Do plants pull this stuff in through their roots?

Food for thought …

All holdings and some statistics on my Fool profile page (Click Expand)


I still hang wash in the sunshine- like the way it smells, fresh and crisp. Hidden behind my landscaping.

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