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Patagonia Urges Consumers to Bag Synthetics for the Environment

Patagonia is taking a more active role in informing consumers about microfiber pollution.

On Feb. 3, Patagonia released a microfiber research update and shared new initiatives that will educate consumers about the harmful effects of synthetic apparel. Patagonia’s consumer engagement plans include new tips about synthetic garment care and the launch of Guppy Friend, an eco-friendly machine-washing bag that minimizes microfiber pollution from laundry cycles.

In the next few weeks, Patagonia will provide every consumer who purchases a synthetic apparel product from its stores or with tips about synthetic garment care. Considering most consumers own clothing from various brands, the tips will be applicable to all forms of synthetic clothing. With the universal tips, consumers everywhere can reduce the shedding of microfibers in the wash and keep microfibers out of the Earth’s main watersheds. Consumers, along with Patagonia, can take part in minimizing microfiber pollution on a global scale and preserve the environment.

Patagonia’s consumer tips include buying high-quality apparel, washing more sustainably and using a fiber filter device for laundry.

According to Patagonia’s recent study with the University of California, Santa Barbara researchers, a low-quality, generic-brand fleece sheds more than Patagonia’s high quality products. Patagonia urges consumers to buy higher-quality apparel, so they may use garments longer and minimize their personal impact on the planet.

Consumers are also advised to only wash their garments occasionally and spot clean if possible to remove stains. As shown with previous Patagonia research, synthetic jackets washed in top-load washing machines shed over five times as many microfibers as the same synthetic jacket in front-load washers. To minimize the number of microfibers transported from washing machines, Patagonia suggests consumers use front-load washers for more sustainable laundry cycles.

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Patagonia also said consumers can use a fiber filter bag to reduce the flow of microfibers in drains. Putting synthetic garments into a filter bag before washing traps microfibers, so they are less likely to contribute to environmental pollution after they are cleaned. To promote fiber bag use, Patagonia in a few weeks will offer consumers the Guppy Friend, a sustainable fiber bag that prevents microfibers from entering oceans, at cost. The Guppy Friend filters out 99 percent of microfibers released during washing, which allows consumers to remove microfibers before they move to waterways. Developed by a German-based Patagonia partner, the Guppy Friend will enable consumers to drastically reduce microfiber pollution with washing machines.

Patagonia’s consumer engagement initiatives follow the company’s recent microfiber pollution research. In June, Patagonia released a study that revealed how apparel industry members and consumers were unaware about their contributions to microfiber pollution. With the study, Patagonia indicated how microfiber pollution impacts both aquatic animals and human health in the long run. Patagonia aims to reduce microfiber pollution with improved fabric construction and innovation investments in upcoming years.