We all try to be Earth friendly, right? We already know to bring our own bags to the grocery store, to refuse the straw in our favorite drinks and that reducing the prevalence of these kinds of items will lessen the amount of trash that ends up in landfills, or floating in the sea.
What people are rarely aware of though, is that our clothing creates a massive amount of microplastic pollution. A 2011 study published by Environmental Science & Technology found that microfibers account for 85% of human-made debris on shorelines around the world. So, the sand on your favorite beach is quite literally part plastic.
First, what are microplastics?
Microplastics are the small pieces of plastic, often they fragment off of plastic products when they are thrown away and start to degrade. This could be a piece of trash floating in the ocean that disintegrates due to exposure from the sun and salt water (or soda bottles, shampoo bottles, milk jugs, etc.). Over time, these single use plastics, break down into smaller and smaller pieces until they become microplastics. Once these tiny plastic particles are in the environment, there is really no way to remove them.
Additionally, they can originate from synthetic fabrics like polyester, acrylic, nylon, elastane and spandex. These petroleum based fabrics are commonly used to make activewear and fast fashion. This was our primary motivation for creating a clothing line made of natural, plant based fabrics.
Your (synthetic) Clothing Is Spewing Toxins Into the Environment
The big difference is that natural, plant based clothing sheds natural microfibers that will be degraded, digested and disappear into the environment very quickly; as opposed to synthetic microfibers. Synthetic microfibers will remain in the environment and float around for ages.
It has been estimated that microfiber emissions could grow by over 50 percent in the next decade, as the business of synthetic textiles continues to boom. These fabrics not only release microfibers, but they also contain Bisphenol A. BPA is a chemical compound commonly used in the manufacturing of synthetic fabrics use in fleece, swimwear and yoga clothes (but not ours, ours are 90% cotton).
What Does Lotus Tribe Do About Microplastics?
To help fight microplastics, Lotus Tribe uses natural plant based fabrics for all of our yoga wear. These are not only better for the environment, but feel better and allow your skin to breathe. We also ship our orders in entirely plastic free packaging to cut down on packaging waste that is most often made of plastic.
Full disclosure: Our stretchy yoga wear and clothing is made of fabrics that are either 90% tree pulp viscose or 90% cotton with 10% spandex fabric. So even though its not 100% natural fiber, it is 90% better than traditionally made yoga wear. We know you there must be some stretch in your yoga clothes, so we aim to offer the best solution.
This 10% spandex can leach microplastic particles into the world's waterways and as such, we suggest using the GuppyFriend washing bag. You can put your Lotus Tribe clothing in this, to catch the 10% of spandex that can shed microplastic particles. It's great for all your swimsuits and synthetic clothing you already own too (because now that you know, you won't buy that stuff again, right?) It's easy to use and integrate into your existing laundry routine.
So, now you know a little more about what microplastics are and how the fast fashion industry contributes to this growing global issue. You also know why, we, as a brand have chosen specifically to not participate in this practice. Making informed choices when shopping for clothing is the first step in combatting the problem. We hope you too will make choices to live as lightly on Mother Earth as possible and know that shopping with Lotus Tribe is always an eco friendly choice.