This project provides scientifically verified methods to avoid, intercept and redesign products that cause the most abundant type of marine plastic pollution – 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, Marina Todesco, Phil Crump, Charlotte Beloe), University of Sydney (Peter Lay, Elizabeth Carter), Parley for the Oceans (Mike Long), Melbourne Water (Catherine Rees) and South Australia Water Corporation (Milena Fernandes) and is also supported by the NSW EPA.