There’s ongoing discussion in the sportswear industry about the sustainability merits of synthetic versus natural fibres. Both have their positives and negatives, so at Presca we are constantly testing and experimenting, making our fabric decisions based on a large number of factors. See all the fabrics in our range.
Presca & microfibres
We are reducing our impact through using recycled synthetic fabrics, but as per Newton’s third law, every action has a reaction. Synthetic fibres have been shown to shed small particles when washed, which can be released to the waterways and ultimately to the ocean. There is increasing awareness of the issues around microfibre pollution, and while in developed countries the water treatment system is effective at removing most of this microfibre pollution, where these fibres do make it to the ocean they are easily ingested by marine mammals.
Given their high surface area microfibres are prone to trapping toxic chemicals on their surface. These can then bioaccumulate in the food chain and ultimately end up in our food.
Many organisations and bodies are carrying out research into the microfibre problem – outdoor clothing giant Patagonia and the industry-wide Microfibre Consortium, for example – and an increasing number of companies, from yarn spinners through to washing machine manufacturers are all working on technological solutions. (We will always keep up to date with the newest developments to ensure Presca garments are as sustainable as possible.)
It’s going to be some time before microfibre shedding is entirely eliminated, so until then we always advise our customers on the best way to minimise their impact right now.
Buy well, buy once. The cheapest clothing is shown to shed most microfibres, not to mention having the impact on labour, etc.
• Wash less often, and at lower temperature. It means shedding fewer fibres as well as reducing energy and water consumption.
• Use a front-loading washing machine. This is shown to shed approximately five times less than top loading machines.
• Use a laundry bag for washing your clothes. We love Guppy Friend… you can buy one here.