Contribution and factors of influence of outdoor apparel to microfibre release

, Cocca Mariacristina, De Falco Francesca, Di Pace Emilia, Avella Maurizio, Scholz Bernadette, Fox Ruediger, Mayershofer Martin.

Laundry processes of synthetic clothes are considered one of the major source of microplastics pollution of aquatic ecosystems. The production and purchasing of synthetic fibres have been constantly increasing in the last decade, and they are mainly used in the apparel industry. Outdoor garments represents a particular case in garment production since their production mostly relies on the usage of high-tech functional fabrics. Such textiles are characterized by properties like waterproofness, breathability and climate-regulating performances, that are achieved through the combination of high performance materials in a laminate structure. Up to know, laminated fabrics have been not investigated yet to evaluate their release of microfibres during washing. Several types of laminated fabrics were selected to cover a wide range of different raw materials, textile structures and characteristics. For each type of laminates, samples coming from different steps of its production were tested. These steps includes raw materials and laminates with or without durable water repellent (DWR) treatments. The release of microfibres was evaluated by testing the samples using a laboratory simulator of washing processes, filtering the washing water and analysing the obtained filters by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Results showed for the first time the quantities of microfibres that can be released by washing of laminated fabrics. The data obtained were statistically analysed, highlighting which textile characteristics and processing steps have a decreasing or increasing effect on the release of microfibres. These outcomes could provide useful information to laminated fabrics producers on how to reduce the microfibre emission from their products.

View online