Photo by Caleb George/Unsplash
G-Star Raw, the Dutch fashion label co-owned by “Happy” hitmaker Pharrell Williams, has teamed up with the Plastic Soup Foundation to challenge the appliance and textiles industries to help clean up fashion’s act. The washing machine’s toll on the environment, it would appear, is far greater than previously thought, although the problem has little to do with energy-efficiency standards and everything with “microplastic” pollution, a blanket term that refers to the millions of tiny filaments shed by synthetic garments every time they’re washed. Too small for wastewater filters to trap, the acrylic, polyester, and nylon fibers slip out to sea, eventually entering the food chain after fish and other marine animals mistake them for plankton. But that’s not even the worst of it. The World Economic Forum estimates that in just 35 years, the amount of plastic trash in the ocean will outweigh all the fish.