Our editor wants to hear from you... 12 Jul 2017

From the editor

I was recently contacted about the use of plastic in 
the industry. What were we doing to reduce it and minimise our impact to marine pollution? I began to look further into the topic. And, as the email happened to land around the same time as World Environment Day and World Oceans Day – both in June - it was easy to find the facts but at the same time hard to escape them.

platic pollution laundry news envrionment

Image credit: 
Photograph: Mike Nelson/Mike Nelson /epa/Corbis

Did you know? Eight million tonnes of plastic pollution is washed into the ocean every day. By 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the sea. And plastic waste has created a gigantic “plastic soup” in the Pacific of up to 15 million square kilometres - almost the size of Russia.

A recent report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) highlighted that synthetic fabrics are one of the major contributors – each time a synthetic item is washed, tiny lint particles break off and enter the surface water system.

To stop the particles entering the system in the first place, scientists are looking into fabric and clothing production techniques, ways to catch the microfibres in washing machines and waste disposal and wastewater treatment plant solutions. To remove the plastic that has already entered the ocean you may have heard of the Ocean Clean Up project.

Boyan Slat, a Dutch inventor and entrepreneur, gave a TEDx talk in 2012 titled, ‘How the oceans can clean themselves’. Then, at just aged 18, he explained how using the ocean’s circulating currents, giant floating pipes could move with the waves to capture plastic particles, without damaging marine life. Following the talk, interest in his concept gathered pace and he went on the launch the Ocean Clean Up project. 

Now, aged 22, he has raised over $30million and, in May, announced that the idea was to be trialled later this year with live tests in the open ocean starting in 2018. It’s an exciting project to keep a watch on and certainly shows how ideas come to life. The team here would love to hear what ideas and initiatives you’ve tried and tested, both large and small scale, to reduce plastic usage in your business. 

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