What is Microfibre?
Microfibre fabric is made from a blend of polyester and nylon (both types of plastic) which is heated together and forced into thin tubes to fuse together. The fibres are then split to create extremely thin hollow fibres which can absorb almost 8 times their weight in liquid. Microfibre is a non-biodegradable fabric and its product increases by 6% annually making up 16% of the worlds plastic production and equates to 60 million metric tonnes.
Plastics are one of the main products of fracking which pollutes water, soil and air with toxins. The fossil fuels are turned into a resin used to produce plastic.
The effect of the fashion industry on the environment
We cannot slander microfibre without first considering the issues that surround the fashion industry as a whole.
The fashion industry is the 2nd biggest pollutant that affects our environment today. We have put together a simple diagram to highlight the key issues facing this industry:
This is why it is so important that we can reduce our impact as much as possible at each stage of the cycle and choose fabrics which cause less harm to the environment.
The effect of microfibre on the environment
Microfibre sheds micro plastics each time it is washed which leaches into the water system.
Recent studies have shown that micro plastics can be found in fresh and sea water around the world. Animals ingest these micro plastics and they consequently enter the food chain.
Plastic has a strong ability to absorb persistent organic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s), and concentrate these in the animal’s tissues via the ingestion of micro plastics.
A recent scientific study by Johnny Gasperi and Buno Tassin found that micro plastics can now be found not only in all our water sources but also in the air that we breathe. This could lead togenotoxicity or reproductive toxicity, carcinogenicity (cancer) and mutagenicity.
Why we choose bamboo
Bamboo is an amazing plant that has numerous benefits which is why we choose it for our nappies:
It is a carbon neutral fibre, meaning it is a plant based fibre that absorbs the same amount of carbon dioxide as it releases during harvesting
It is water efficient and grows quickly (some varieties grow almost a metre a day)
It does not require the use of harmful pesticides to grow a successful yield
The fabric is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal
The process to convert bamboo into a useable fabric does require a chemical process (this is used for many types of fabrics used today), however new methods are being worked on to improve this process to be more environmentally friendly. It is also the reason ALL our fabrics are tested to OekoTex 100 certification which means no residual chemicals have been found in the final fabric.
What can we do?
Choose fabric tested to Oeko Tex 100
Choose natural fibres such as bamboo, hemp and organic cotton instead of synthetic fibres
Reduce microfibre based products
Choose sustainably sourced fabrics