Microfibres under a microscope Imogen Napper

#StopOceanThreads: The story so far

2 minute read

Ella Daish, Campaigns Officer

Ella Daish, Campaigns Officer

16 Oct 2023

In July 2020, we launched the #StopOceanThreads campaign to tackle microfibre pollution from washing machines and protect our ocean and wildlife from the impacts. We look at what we’ve achieved since then.

Why we started our campaign

9.4 trillion microfibres are released every single week from clothes washes in the UK, entering the ocean and impacting the wildlife that calls it home.

To #StopOceanThreads at source, we’ve been campaigning for the UK Government to implement a crucial law which would require washing machine manufacturers to fit microfibre filters in all new domestic and commercial machines by 2025.

microfibre filter - unsplash

Credit: Planet Care

The thread of what's happened

Over 40,000 of you have supported our campaign, calling for the mandatory installation of microfibre filters. You’ve helped raise awareness of this issue to thousands of people and shown how many of us want change to happen for our blue planet.

Thank you to everyone who has signed our petition. If you haven’t, it’s not too late – there's still time to add your name to our growing list of supporters

Microplastics parliamentary group founded, and report published

Following the launch of the Stop Ocean Threads campaign, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Microplastics was founded to raise awareness of the impacts of microplastics.

Our research and the voices of our supporters contributed to the APPG’s first report, which highlighted the need for urgent UK Government action to tackle microfibre pollution, including the fitting of filters  in all washing machines, both domestic and commercial, by 2025.

The APPG has since gone on to hold events and meetings on the importance of UK Government action on the issue, inviting charities like us and the Women’s Institute to provide information, and to gain cross-party support from parliamentarians for the cause.

Corporate partner teams up to #StopOceanThreads

Beko teamed up with us to address microfibre pollution by launching the world’s first ever integrated washing machine filter. The Grundig FiberCatcher® machine catches up to 90% of microfibres released during clothes washes, preventing them from being released into waterways.

Beko went one step further by open sourcing its FiberCatcher® technology to make it easier for other brands in the industry to add the filter to their product ranges and help stop more pollution.

Clothes in a washing machine Werayuth Tes

Credit: Werayuth Tes via Shutterstock

MP Alberto Costa speaks up

Alongside chairing the APPG on Microplastics, Alberto Costa, MP for South Leicester, has tabled questions to DEFRA and recently presented the Microfibre Bill to Parliament. This bill calls on the UK Government to adopt a law requiring manufacturers to fit microplastic-catching filters to new domestic and commercial washing machines.

What’s next? The Microfibre Bill is set to be read out for a second time by Alberto Costa, on the 2nd of November 2023. This will open the floor for MPs to debate the bill for the first time and ultimately decide whether it is allowed to progress to the next stage.

Alberto Costa MP

Credit: Alberto Costa MP

France makes a move to #StopOceanThreads

In 2020, France became the first country to introduce a microfibre filter law. The law states that by 2025 all new washing machines in France must include a microfibre filter.

What's next?

While we wait for the second reading of the Microfibre Bill, and the outcome of whether it will progress to the next stage, you can still add your voice to the #StopOceanThreads petition and help us reach 50,000 signatures!

If you’re curious about the steps you can take to help reduce microfibre pollution at home, check out our  ocean-friendly living tips.

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