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Fashion's dirty microplastics secret

Sustainable Practices in Textile & Apparel Industry


Clothing made from synthetic materials sheds microfibres, a type of microplastic that contaminates waterways and even air. Alternatives are emerging.

Perspectives and insights

  • The $167 billion athleisure category and polyester-fuelled fast fashion are a key contributors to microplastics.
  • Stella McCartney has developed a new denim from biodegradable elastane; elastene has been one of the hardest materials for apparel to make from recycled plastic.
  • California-based Mango Materials has developed a technology to turn polyhydroxyalkanoate, a naturally occurring compound, into a polyester replacement.
  • Natural Fiber Welding, based in Illinois, makes a plant-based leather substitute called Mirum that it says eliminates the need for polyurethane.