Synthetic microfibres are being increasingly identified as one major source of ocean pollution. A growing number of companies are starting to take this issue seriously; committing resources to study the scope of the problem and develop an understanding of which steps can be taken to create possible solutions.
In an agreement five European industry associations, which represents a total of over 180,000 companies with more than 2.4 million employees, commits to a cross-sector cooperation in order to develop solutions against the release of microplastics in the laundry of synthetic textiles:
- EOG, European Outdoor Group,
- FESI, Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry,
- A.I.S.E., International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products,
- CIRFS, European Man Made Fibres Association, und
- EURATEX, European Textile and Apparel Confederation.
In the agreement the associations commit to a cross-industry coordination and stakeholder support through a set of effective and economically feasible measures:
- Define common measurement methods: Agree on reliable and harmonised test methods to identify and quantify the type of microplastic present in water and in the environment.
- Share Knowledge: Call for collaboration across all relevant industry sectors and other organisations, including research, to share information, define common priorities to fill knowledge gaps and advise on mid and long-term measures.
- Industrial research: Support and participate in industrial research activities to investigate feasible options to tackle the release of microplastic and to contribute towards addressing a global problem.
An agreed definition of microplastics is necessary to investigate any further steps. The goal, for the end of 2018, will be to draft a proposal for the European Commission, said the EOG on its website.
Numerous sporting goods manufacturers have already taken measures against microplastic contamination. The European Outdoor Group has launched the “Outdoor Industry Microfibre Consortium“, bringing together large companies from the outdoor industry.