The Unsustainable Textile Quandary – Update

This morning I came across a advert for eco-friendly biros, and was left wondering why you wouldn’t just use a pencil.  I’ve always been rather fond of a pencil – so much easier to put things right or just change your mind.  I won’t be buying eco-friendly pens, but the ad did remind me to pop in here to update you on the unsustainable textile quandary.

You might remember that I was concerned about the micro-particles that are released from non-biodegradable textiles as they are laundered, and their impact on marine life.  The questions I raised were about the textiles already in my house, and the best way forward.

Having done an afternoon of research, and consulted the hive mind (that’s you), I came up with nothing – well almost nothing.  The answer seemed to be ‘it’s complicated’.  The problem is that these textiles even exist at all.  Once they’ve been manufactured, they’re in the environment, and there is just no getting rid of them.

With that in mind, I intend to make the most of my polar fleece dressing gown.  Using and reusing it for as long as possible seems to be the best way forward.  But what about the micro-particles washing in to waterways?  I’ve decided to try a product called Guppyfriend.  This is a washing bag that is supposed to contain these harmful fibres, so that you can scoop them out and pop them in the bin.  I haven’t tried the bag yet, but will say two things.  Some people will find the £32 price tag prohibitive, and most stockists are sold out.  I can only hope that there will be other solutions that are more accessible.  I am cynical about the effectiveness of the bag; however, I was a Brownie sworn to do my best, and right now that’s a fancy laundry bag.

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I had thought that buying new things would be less of a problem, however even that is proving to be more of a shift in thinking than I’d anticipated.  Finding yoga leggings wasn’t a problem.  Yoga buffs are an environmentally conscious lot, and finding clothing with explicit green credentials wasn’t too difficult.  Buying fabric for a work project was a little more problematic.  I only needed a metre of cotton, so popped along to the quilting shop to buy local.  There are other environmental issues around cotton, but at least this less thoughtful purchase is biodegradable.  The item that really caught me out was a fabric advent calendar that I purchased on line without giving it a second thought.  Hopefully it shouldn’t need washing.

My transition to using textiles with a lower environmental impact isn’t going to be as simple as picking up a pencil.  This is going to be a journey that involves acquiring a consciousness and conscientiousness around everyday items and choices I currently take for granted.

I’d love to hear how your managing your man made laundry, and if you’re trying anti-micro-particle products.  What have you found that works, or doesn’t work?  And how are you finding the transition to using only textiles made from natural fibres?  Are you finding there’s lots of choice, or have you slipped up like me?

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