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Sustainability Resources

Cotton Sustainability Resource
Cotton Biodegradability in Water – Webinar


Did you know apparel begins to break down in the wash?

Fabrics (both natural and synthetic) shed microfibers which enter into rivers, lakes, and oceans. Research shows synthetic fibers contribute to plastic pollution in the earth’s water supply by shedding microplastics into waterways when laundered. (Microfiber Pollution and the Apparel Industry and Accumulation of Microplastic on Shorelines Worldwide). It is estimated that there is now a minimum of 5.25 trillion plastic particles, weighing 270,000 tons, floating in the world’s oceans (Eriksen et al. 2014). These particles do not break down, but continue to bio-accumulate causing further harm to Earth’s marine habitats.

Cotton Incorporated and North Carolina State University teamed up to better understand cotton biodegradability in water. The study considers the path of cotton and synthetic microfibers as they:

  • Shed in the wash
  • Enter waterways
  • Breakdown in water