This project provides scientifically verified methods to avoid, intercept and redesign products that cause the most abundant form of polymer currently found in the ecosystem – clothing fibres - which has increased by over 450% in 60 years.  

While the use of natural fibres instead of plastic and washing-machine filters are marketed as ecological products that mitigate fibre pollution, scientific evidence is lacking.

The project aims to determine how natural and plastic fibres, clothing brands and washing-machine filters alter fibre emissions and ecological impacts. The outcomes will underpin efforts by the public, government and companies to reduce fibre pollution by producing protocols that are anticipated to be incorporated into products to reduce the environmental release of microplastics. 

This project is Part of the Benign By Design Programme and is funded by the Australian Research Council and involves the University of New South Wales (Emma Johnston, Phil Crump, Marina Todesco, Charlotte Beloe), University of Sydney (Peter Lay, Elizabeth Carter), Wexco Environmental (Brian Koski), Melbourne Water (Catherine Rees) and South Australia Water Corporation (Milena Fernandes). This project is also supported by NSW EPA, School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences, School of Civil & Environmental Engineering and UNSW’s Water Research Laboratory.

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Mark Browne
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