We kicked off our first SHiFT Session of 2020 by taking a closer look at the sources of and solutions to microfibre pollution. Hosted by eXXpedition Founder, Emily Penn, our diverse panel of industry experts discussed the complex challenges surrounding the microfibre issue and offered their opinions on some different ways to prevent plastic microfibre pollution in our ocean.

In case you missed it, we recorded all the insight from our expert panellists during the session:


“For a typical clothes wash of acrylic [fibres] we found that over 700 000 fibres would come off your clothes,” panellist Dr. Imogen Napper told us. “Every time you wash your clothes, hundreds of thousands of waste fibres go down with the waste water and potentially into the marine environment – and at the moment, there is very little we can do to stop it.”

Microfibres are plastic-based threads that are becoming increasingly common within the world’s ocean – with a recent Ocean Wise study suggesting that an astonishing 3.5 QUADRILLION fibres are making their way into our rivers, lakes and oceans every year.

“If there are 24 million washing machines in the UK and people are washing their clothes 4 times a week and we’re [Inheriting Earth] seeing a gram per wash – that could be in the region of 24 tonnes a week at least,” said panellist Adam Root, Inheriting Earth, who’s tech company is working to reduce plastic fibre output from washing machines.

Our audience members were also keen to find out how they could further reduce plastic waste from their own business ventures. “One of the key issues that I have endlessly is poly bags – because as a manufacturer you have to send your garments to customers in perfect condition. I’ve looked at a lot of products and haven’t come up with a good solution.” said Alice Asquith, founder of sustainable activewear brand, Asquith. Panellist Deborah Luffmann, Product Director at Finisterre was quick to answer and provided a useful solution regarding a biodegradable, dissolvable polymer that is to be rolled out shortly as a poly bag alternative.

Our panellists:

Thank you again to our wonderful panellists, Arboretum and to all who attended for such a fantastic evening!

Join our next SHiFT Session!

SHiFT sessions are open to all! Whether it’s a talk, an event or an experience, everything we do is designed to help people fall in love with the ocean and understand the need to protect it, uncover different solutions to help solve the plastic crisis, find your role and take action. Join one of our upcoming sessions here.