The Diocesan Environmental Leads share some ideas on how we can live simply during July
Reduce Microplastic Pollution in the Ocean:
Change how you do the Laundry
Live Simply and Live Sustainably with Creation
Reduce Microplastic Pollution in the Ocean: Change how you do the laundry
When we think of plastic pollution in the ocean we think of turtles and sea birds choking on plastic bags or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a floating mountain of plastic bottles, food containers, carrier bags and yoghurt pots. What many of us don’t know is that the majority of the plastic pollution in the ocean is microplastics. These are tiny fragments of plastic, less than 5mm, they are too small for the human eye to see but they cause serious issues once they get into the ocean.
Why are microplastics so bad?
Microplastics aren’t effectively filtered out by waste treatment plants so they end up in rivers and oceans. To make matters worse untreated water from waste treatment plants is often released into rivers and oceans. Fish and other sea creatures swallow microplastics, sometimes because they mistake the fragments for food. Microplastics also get stuck in the gills of fish, making it harder for them to breathe. Toxins stick to microplastic particles which concentrates them making them even more poisonous.
What’s laundry got to do with microplastics?
Around 35% of microplastic pollution in the ocean comes from washing clothes. Each and every wash load releases microplastic fibres from our clothes into the water system. Almost 13,000 tons of microplastics are released into European waters every year
What can you do?
How you do your washing can help
- Wash your clothes less often
- Wash a full load to reduce friction between clothes
- Wash your clothes at a cooler temperature
- Wash with a liquid detergent. Using a detergent powder can cause more abrasion in fabrics leading to more shedding
- Air dry instead of tumble dry
Buy higher quality clothes less often,
Clothing releases most microplastics in the first few washes. The more fast fashion you buy, the more new clothing you’re washing. Buying higher quality clothing, ideally second hand that you can keep for longer will help reduce your impact.
Use a microfibre capture wash bag
In a study by Plymouth University the Guppy Friend wash bag was shown to reduce microplastic release from synthetic fabrics by 54%. It works by trapping microplastics and reducing friction between clothes Using a wash bag is especially important for new clothes, fleeces, and microfibre dish/cleaning cloths as fabrics shed most microplastics in the first 8 washes. Other microfibre capture wash bags are available.
Fit a Microplastic filter to your washing machine.
Gulp microplastic washing machine filter is new on the market; it claims to capture 94% of microplastics. Available from –
Live in Solidarity with the Poor
CAFOD Cancel the Debt Campaign
CAFOD are asking us to take action.
Right now, countries in debt are being held to ransom and big banks and hedge funds are making millions in interest payments while lower-income countries are left without enough money to pay for health or education.
The past few years have seen debts owed by some of the poorest countries mount up to unsustainable levels. Due to the economic crisis and high interest rates, 54 countries are now facing a debt crisis. But instead of agreeing to cancel some of the debt, big banks and hedge funds are demanding it all – plus interest. CAFOD says that the global economy is turning into the Wild West and cowboy lenders are getting away with the world’s biggest stick up.
For countries like Pakistan, debt is a disaster 33 million people have been affected by flooding in Pakistan, made worse by the climate crisis. The country is due to spend $22.5 billion this year alone on debt repayments, with speculators able to make over 200% profit.
What can we do to cancel the debt?
Here in the UK we can have a huge impact in addressing this crisis. UK law plays a key role in enforcing debt contracts, 90% of lending to the poorest countries is enforced through UK courts. That means a new law, as recommended by the International Development Committee can help make sure this debt is cancelled.
Take Action Now
Our MP can help stop this.
CAFOD says that it’s crucial that we take this chance, we can stop the lenders in their tracks if enough of us act. Please follow the link to ask our MP, Alexander Stafford to write to the International Development Minister asking him to pass this crucial legislation.