Research shows – Water Amount in Washing Machines Effects Plastic Pollution in Seas

Washing delicate clothing containing materials such as nylon, polyester and acrylic, appears to lead to more plastic into the water than formerly thought.

Researchers from Newcastle University measured the release of microfibers from polyester clothing for a series of washes and water volumes in cooperation with the US group of Procter & Gamble (P & G). The team found out that the higher the amount of water, the more fibers it releases. Research leader Max Kelly: “Experience has shown that the machine movement, that is, the speed at which the drum spins, the number of revolutions and the length of breaks in the wash cycle are the most important factors for the amount of microfiber released.”

Hope lies in the fact that manufacturers can use outcomes such as these to influence the design of future washing machines and thus to reduce the ecological footprint. Over time, these changes could lead to a global reduction in the energy and water requirements for clothing washing.