Microfibre pollution is one of the biggest and most urgent issues facing the global textile industry. The loss of fibres from synthetic textiles during washing, and their persistence in aquatic ecosystems, has emerged as an area of major concern.

As scientific research on the subject has ramped up, the scale and impact of the problem has become all too clear, in marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments.

Woollen garments also shed fibres during use and care regimes, but with a crucial difference: these fibres are biodegradable. They do not accumulate in the environment, but break down naturally to harmless compounds.

It is absolutely clear that wool biodegrade safely. It does so at different rates in soil and water, and depending on the environmental conditions. IWTO has a programme of work that is evaluating information on the loss of natural fibres in the environment, the rate at which they biodegrade, and the potential for impacts or concern.

Reducing microfibre pollution will require

  • Minimising the consumption of synthetic fibres
  • Maximising the proportion of natural fibre in global textile products
  • Avoiding over-consumption through retaining and reusing clothing.

Wool’s natural properties support less frequent, lower impact washing, greater durability, established pathways for recycling, and the need for fewer garments to be produced.

IWTO work in this area will be supported by robust pre-existing evidence and the latest evaluation research that is underway.

Read more about Microfibre HERE

Wool In Aquatic Environments