Microplastic pollution is an emerging environmental concern and includes items such as plastic pellets, vehicle tyre erosion and, until a recent UK ban, found in personal care products (microbeads).
Microfibres are those which are directly released into the environment as small particles (less than 5 mm size). Although often included in microplastic discussions, microfibres can be synthetic or natural, and are shed from carpets, curtains and other household textiles, as well as clothes.
At Rab we recognise the serious nature of microfibres in the environment and we have materials experts actively engaged with ongoing research. We are members of The Microfibre Consortium, an industry led body which aims to address the microfibre challenge though activities in strategy, integrity, research, and product development. There is no obvious solution to the challenge at this stage.
Research shows that microfibres are most often released during the washing and tumble drying of clothing. We would recommend purchasing quality hard-wearing clothing and equipment, keeping items longer and washing/drying them less frequently. This practice has an overall environmental benefit and may also help minimise microfibre loss.