Microplastics are bits of plastic less than 5mm in size. They’ve been found everywhere from beaches to the deepest parts of the ocean.
It’s estimated that 11 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean every year. Nearly a million tonnes of this goes into the sea as “primary microplastics”, meaning they’re already less than 5mm in size.
It’s estimated that 35% of primary microplastics come from domestic and industrial washing cycles. So, we’re working on reducing microfibres entering the oceans via washing machines. We've seen Grundig produce the world’s first domestic washing machine with a factory fitted filter, launched in 2021. We're working closely with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to get washing machines factory fitted with microfibre filters by 1st January 2025, as well as advising on the Microplastic filters (Washing Machine) Bill (proposed in 2022).
We continue to work with investment group First Sentier to influence washing machine manufacturers across the globe to commit to developing and installing factory fitted filters. We’re also working with the fashion industry to reduce microfibre loss from their clothes.
Check out our Stop Ocean Threads campaign.
Intentionally added microplastics
We’re also calling for a ban on all intentionally added microplastics under GB-REACH, a new chemical regulation system which is the replacement for EU REACH. The EU version has already proposed introducing such legislation.
We work closely with organisations including Fidra and Fauna & Flora International to introduce legislations and policies which will ultimately reduce microplastics ending up in the ocean. We've supported the rollout of the forthcoming 'PAS standard' first specification to prevent plastic pellet pollution, and continue to work with, and call on, industry and retailers to reduce microplastics use across a variety of projects, including glitter.