Switch-to-cold laundry campaign set for launch in Metro Vancouver to fight microplastics pollution

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      Moms and dads can take the fight to save the environment in the laundry room.

      The Metro Vancouver regional government will launch a campaign to encourage parents to switch to cold water in doing the family laundry.

      The drive is meant to lower the amount of microfibres that contribute to microplastics pollution.

      “The campaign targets residents, specifically parents with children under 18, and asks them to reduce microfibre shedding through the small act of washing laundry in cold water,” a staff report states.

      The report was prepared by Larina Lopez, Carol Nicolls, and Shellee Ritzman, all with the district’s corporate communications.

      The campaign begins on September 13.

      “Microfibres from laundry are one of the largest sources of microplastics pollution in the ocean,” the report explains.

      Microplastics include beads and fibres that are less than five millimeters in size. These are considered to be harmful to aquatic life.

      The staff report notes that synthetic and natural clothing materials like cotton produce microfibres.

      The document explains that wastewater treatment plants can capture up to 95 percent of incoming microfibres.

      “While this means fewer microfibres going into the ocean, it is much more effective to reduce microfibres before they reach wastewater treatment plants,” the report points out.

      It adds that based on research, washing in cold water can reduce the amount of microfibres associated with laundry.

      “Precampaign research showed that while there is high awareness of microplastics issues, people were generally unaware of microfibre impacts but were open to taking an action that fit into their current routine,” the report states.