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Vaude mission aims to reduce microplastics in environment
Feb '18
German mountain sports equipment manufacturer Vaude has launched the ‘TextileMission’ research project along with partners from environmental associations, the scientific community and the textile industry to address the problem of polluting microplastics, i.e., the smallest plastic particles that, for example, separate from fleece clothing during washing.

Based in Tettnang, the company also produces clothing made of synthetic fibres and hence, is actively seeking solutions to avoid releasing microplastics into the environment.

The ‘TextileMission’ was officially launched on September 1 last year with funding from the German ministry of education and research with partners from the sporting goods industry, universities, WWF Germany and washing machine and detergent manufacturers Miele and Henkel, according to a company press release.

Fleece materials with their fluffy surface are usually made of synthetic fibers such as polyamide or polyester. Fibres and tiny particles that are shed, for example when washing fleece clothing in the washing machine, are only partially filtered out by sewage treatment plants and are thus released directly into the environment.

As synthetic fibres are durable and biodegrade at an extremely slowly pace, they pose a danger when they end up in oceans through the water cycle. Marine life can confuse these tiny particles with food allowing the plastics to enter the food chain.

TENCEL is a fibre made from 100 per cent eucalyptus and beech wood from sustainable forestry and evinces excellent performance features. The company already uses the innovative fibre in clothing items like shirts and bike jerseys. It has also developed a new soft fleece material in collaboration with Lenzing, the Austrian manufacturer of TENCEL fibres, the press release said.

The unique feature of this product is that the microparticles that enter the water cycle during washing can biodegrade completely in seawater. (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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