Swiss researchers’ highlights key reasons of microfiber release


Micro-plastic pollution is omnipresent in the marine environment and is increasingly consumed by many marine species. Endangering the ecosystem and ultimately human lives.

Scientists advise that by changing clothes production by including more laser-based manufacturing processes, could aid in reducing the amount of microfibers pollution at sea.

Figure: EMPA researchers say that laser-cut result in cleaner cuts at the microscale compared to scissor cuts and reduces up to 31 times ocean pollution.

Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materias Science and Technology (EMPA) researchers say that textile microfibres from synthetic fabrics count for more than one-third of micro-plastics in the sea, with tests emphasizing that production details such as the fabric cutting technique can radically reduce the rate of emission.

Embracing cleaner cutting techniques is vital for the industry to help reduce micro-plastic pollution release. A prewash of tailored garments at the factory could effectively collect a large portion – up to 95% – of the production-inherited microfibers, the study says.

Laser-cut results in cleaner cuts at the microscale in comparison to scissor cuts, which results in fabrics that are more threadbare at the edges and shed fibers during washing.

Yaping Cai at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology in Dübendorf, Switzerland said, “Our results confirm the presence of microplastic fibers in textiles throughout the manufacturing process.”

“The results of this study may help to reduce the microplastic fiber release from textiles by modifications throughout the production and finishing process” Yaping added.

The maximum extracted number of microfibres was found for the microfiber textile, with 45400 microfibres per gram and 11300 microfibres per gram for the scissor-cut and laser-cut samples, correspondingly.

These figures were about 60 times higher than the number of microfibers extracted from twill, a weave pattern that has diagonal lines on the face of the fabric.

Twill showed the lowest number of extracted microfibers – 760 microfibers per gram for scissor-cut and just 120 microfibers per gram for laser-cut samples.

One of the most significant findings in the study is that the sum of microplastic fibers extracted from textiles was expressively influenced by the cutting method.