Fashion Sustainability Series: My Guppyfriend

by - 18:20

Hi all, what crazy crazy times we're in... I hope you're all well and staying safe!

Do you know I have moments where I completely forget that this is all happening?  The other day, for instance, I was doing a pub quiz with my friends over a video call and we were all having such a great time that I forgot the reason why we were having to do a video call in the first place.  It wasn't until I came off the call that it hit me again that we're in some abnormal, movie-like scenario.  It's all still a little surreal but I guess amongst the chaos, there's a lot of good happening and that's what we need to focus on.  At least all this time in isolation should get the posts flowing again hence today's - another in the fashion consciousness series as I do just really enjoy discussing fashion sustainability with you all.

Turtle-neck - ASOS
Top - Zara
Jeans - Zara (JoinLife collection)
So, to jump straight in, I'm sure you're all very aware of our plastic waste crisis.  We don't need to look much further than our local environment to spot some sort of plastic waste inhabiting the area.  I mean, with our landfill sites filled to the brim where else is the 359 m tonnes of global plastic produced yearly going to go?  And that's mainly referring to the plastic we can visibly see and monitor (or at least try to) - those single-use plastic items that are used and consumed daily.  But, what about the pollution from the plastic we can't see?  Microplastics are scarily everywhere, they have been found in every part of our explored oceans - on Big Island in Hawaii for instance, almost 15% of the sand is made up of microplastics (taken from one of my favourite reads - National Geographic).  Research has even shown that due to the nature of our food chain, we are consuming these tiny bits of plastic in our food and drink.

Now, these minuscule bits of plastic come from any type of plastic product but, what I want to focus on are the plastic fibres that shed from our clothes and textiles.  Synthetic fibres such as polyester, nylon, and elastane are most commonly used in the fashion industry, in fact, you'll probably find the majority of the items in your wardrobe contain some sort of synthetic fibre whether that be a fully synthetic material or a natural and synthetic blend.  What's more, is that it is these fibres that make up 35% of the plastic polluting the oceans, I mean I'm not surprised if every time we put on a clothes wash roughly 9 million microplastic fibres are released into the water system, crazy right?

The GuppyFriend

If you're stunned by the figures like I was, you may be wondering if there is anything that can be done to reduce microplastic pollution. New methods are being thought up about how to combat the general plastic pollution crisis but is there anything for microplastics directly?  I had this thought about a year and a half ago when I first read about microplastic pollution in an article by GoodOnYou - my go-to app on fashion sustainability.  As someone who came from a household who put on a clothes wash a couple of times a week, it really hit home about how much plastic was entering our waterways.  Upon doing some research, I came across a product called The Guppy Friend, a mesh laundry bag with a great purpose.  This bag captures fibres (around 95-99%) that shed from clothes during a regular wash cycle essentially preventing these fibres from entering the water system.  Nifty idea ey?  I've been using this bag for about a year and a half now and it's both fascinating and comforting to see the microfibres that have collected at each corner of the bag after a wash.  It really does make the issue of microplastic pollution that much more real.

The micro-plastic fibres that have been captured by the bag after one wash.

Of course, with any product first to be designed in its field, there are some questions I have regarding my Guppy bag, for instance, what happens with the microfibres once they are disposed of in the bin?  Will the bag size increase to allow for more clothes, as currently only half of the space can be filled?  I think straight to the situation we are in currently and how it's important to search for those silver-linings and elements of positivity.  Although I may have discovered a couple of flaws within the product, the most important thing is its positive impact.  The Guppy Friend is the first product made to specifically combat microplastic pollution and that is one hell of a positive start!

So to conclude, what am I really trying to get at here?  I guess three points really:
1. Wash your clothes less.
2. Be considerate of the clothes you may buy next i.e. what are they made of?
3.Own a Guppy Friend (or two so more clothes can go in the washing machine) to help combat microplastic pollution.

Until next time, Lyds x

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