The impact that microfibres have on our environment are little known, but new research is coming out that makes microfibres look almost as bad as microbeads (which have been banned in a lot of places). Thankfully people are already working on solutions from better clothing processing to filters put on laundry machines. For now, the best thing you can do to alleviate additional pressure on the environment from your fashion choices is to simple buy less clothing.
Jollimore’s Lint luv-r could be a key weapon of defence against microfibres. After an ecologist in California first documented the pollutant as a global problem in 2011, several researchers became interested in testing Jollimore’s filter. (One test is showing it can catch over 80 percent of fibres.) Ross’s team is studying filters, including the Lint luv-r, as viable household solutions, and conducting a kind of forensic analysis on microfibre samples—matching a single fibre to its source. “I liken it to studying snowflakes,” he says. “We’re not talking about a chemical that we can measure in the lab.” Although the study of microfibres is still in early stages, the fact that our clothing could be poisoning waterways around the world would be an enormous hurdle for a clothing industry that has faced immense criticism over its lack of environmental responsibility.