Updated: Aug 19, 2020
Natural fabrics—such as cotton, silk and wool—are made of animal or plant-based fibers, while synthetics are man-made and produced entirely from chemicals to create fabrics like polyester, rayon, acrylic, and many others. Over the years these synthetic fibers have increasingly grown in popularity.
However, a major problem with man-made fibers is the fact that they do not biodegrade. A polyester shirt will remain in the same state for hundreds of years. As these fibers are petroleum-based, if left outside the chemicals in them can seep into the soil and damage local ecosystems. An additional problem to synthetic fibers is their ability to release micro-plastic when washed.
Micro plastics are small plastic particles under 5 mm that can originate from products such as body washes or for use in manufacturing, but another major source comes from the breakdown of larger plastics and synthetic textiles – particularly when we wash our clothing. In fact, a single garment can release between 120,000-730,000 plastic microfibers in just one laundry cycle. (Oceanwise 2019 report: "Me, my clothes and the ocean")
The solution? Natural fabrics! As well as being environmentally sustainable, the majority of natural fabrics are biodegradable, moisture-wicking, breathable, durable, heat-responsive and naturally repellent to mold and dirt.
Take a photo of a piece of clothing that is made of cotton, silk, or wool!
Share a photo and tag @onepieceaday1, and use the hashtag #OPADPlasticFreeJuly to earn 1 ENTRY!