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Garments shrunk in the laundry quickly end up in the trash - is it time to change how we wash?  We've all had clothes that shrink in the wash. A little tight around the middle perhaps, or with legs and arms coming up rather shorter than they were prior to entering the washing machine. When it happens to a favourite pair of jeans or expensive new outfit, it's more than just an annoyance - and once shrunk, the chances of clothes being worn again reduce significantly. The number one reason cited by people for disposing of clothes is that they don’t fit anymore, or have been damaged in the wash. So we know that if we can prevent shrinkage and other damage caused by washing, we can extend the useful life of our clothes - saving money and, crucially, reducing the environmental impact of the clothes we wear. Why Do We Wash Clothes in a Machine? For centuries, we washed fabrics and clothes by hand - gently cleaning them by soaking, and then massaging the cloth to remove dirt. Automatic washing machines have been around for a hundred years or so, and a modern machine - with its multitude of wash programmes - has mechanised and automated this laborious process. They've made our lives easier, and are typically viewed as a necessity in most households in developed countries. Unfortunately, however, machine washing just isn’t as gentle to your clothes as washing by hand. The sheer power of the machine can stress and break clothing fibres in ways that your hands simply cannot, damaging your clothes and leading to shrinkage - and ultimately, early retirement.  To understand why clothes shrink in the wash, we first need to understand a little more about what happens to them when they're made. What, Actually, is Shrinkage – and Why Does it Happen? Throughout the process of making our clothes, particularly the spinning of fibres and the knitting and weaving of textiles, materials are constantly under tension. But when we wash them in a machine they are subjected to heat, moisture and harsh mechanical action - this damaging combination causes the tension in the fibres to be lost, allowing garments to shrink and change shape. There’s actually a technical term for it - consolidation shrinkage - and it's defined as a change in the dimensions of fabrics and garments, including length, width and thickness. It can be affected by lots of things, including the type of fibres, how they've been woven or knitted into the final garment, and the harshness of the washing process. From one wash to the next, the signs of shrinkage can be subtle. But over ten washes, the difference can be enormous - changing your clothes dramatically, with waistbands no longer fitting, or trouser hems hanging some distance above your ankles. Other potential issues caused by machine washing include: Clothes sagging or changing shape ('shrinkage' can, somewhat surprisingly, also mean that clothes get bigger! Any change of shape that happens during washing is loosely defined as shrinkage) Damage to transfers, embellishments and other details Colours fading or running Pilling (sometimes known as bobbling) Shedding of fibres and microfibres Our Clothes are Harming The Environment. Collectively, we spend trillions of dollars on clothes every year - making the fashion industry one of the largest in the world. But it is also one of the most environmentally damaging - consuming vast amounts of resources and generating huge volumes of waste. Estimates suggest that more than 100 billion garments are made each year, and it’s thought that 85% of textiles are dumped into landfill yearly, instead of being recycled or reused. Fast Fashion - the culture of changing the style of clothing ever more frequently - has contributed to the growth of these numbers. Consumers are buying fashionable, inexpensive clothes and wearing them just a few times before disposal. Some surveys have even suggested that a significant number of people now see fashion as ‘throwaway’ – with millions of garments dumped after being worn just once. Wash Better. So, if we better care for our clothes, preventing shrinking and other damage that can hasten their journey to the trash, it’s likely we will wear them longer - reducing unnecessary waste. New technologies can help by significantly reducing damage caused by washing. We also need to rethink our relationship with fashion, and learn to love our clothes for longer. There are some practical steps you can take right now to reduce laundry damage and prolong the life of your clothes: Wash less often if you can. Most of us wash our clothes more than is necessary. Jeans, for example, rarely need to be washed more than once or twice a month Wash shorter. Long cycles can exacerbate damage. Short, daily wash programmes are usually sufficient to freshen up your clothes – they're better for the environment and will save you money  Wash colder. Most wash cycles are run at 40°C, but 30°C is actually hot enough to get all but the most heavily soiled items clean - and 20°C is even better! Use less water. Quick daily wash cycles typically use less water than other programmes. As a bonus, fewer microfibres - a major source of pollution in the environment - will be washed down the drain. Extending the life of a garment by just 9 months can reduce its environmental footprint by 20%-30%. This has significant benefits for the environment, saving vast amounts of water, carbon emissions and waste. In the long run, it will save you money too. [Sustainability, Blog, Garment Care, consumer]

Clothes That Shrink in the Wash are Bad for the Environment

Garments shrunk in the laundry quickly end up in the trash - is it time to change how we wash? ...
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The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals lie at the heart of everything we do. This is why. Over the course of recent history, the lives of billions of people have become immeasurably better. The living standards that many of us enjoy today are those our grandparents could only dream of. But in raising these standards we have put unsustainable pressure on our natural and human resources. Many of us now understand that we urgently need to find solutions to reduce this pressure so that everyone, both now and in the future, can live sustainably in a fair, safe and healthy world. Change Together, we must be unrelenting in our efforts to halt and reverse climate change, to stabilise erratic weather patterns and return the temperature of our planet to what it needs to be. We need to use less water and stop polluting it so there is enough to go round an increasing global population. We need Earth Overshoot Day, the point each year when we exceed the sustainable use of Earth’s resources, to happen later and later every year. Achieving these things will be a giant step towards mending the damage that has, to a large degree, been unwittingly created. Fairness The impact of behaving unsustainably is felt most often by people in the poorest parts of the world, where those already without increasingly have less. People living in countries growing cotton used to clothe the world are badly affected by persistent water shortages which are made worse by climate change. Many people do not realise that the clothes we wear have significant impacts on those who make them and our global environment. Our fashion purchases support a trillion-dollar industry but one which is the second largest consumer of water on the plant and one of its largest polluters. Thankfully, both individually and collectively, we can work to protect and nurture natural and human resources and create a better world. To some degree this can be achieved through the choices we make as individuals. But success, at scale, will mean making positive choices through system change. System change achieved by the adoption and achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 17 Goals The UN Sustainable Development Goals are the roadmap towards a better, fairer future for everyone. They are a guide for governments, enterprises and all of us to live sustainably in the world we share. At Xeros, we believe that each and every one of the SDGs is unquestionable and have decided that the development goals should guide what we do and how we act. The technologies we and others develop directly benefit the achievement of a number of the goals, such as protecting life under water (Goal 14) and the provision of clean, safe water (Goal 6). If you would like to find out more about the Sustainable Development Goals and how we are working to support them click here. Mark Nichols, CEO, Xeros Technology Group [Sustainability, Blog, consumer]

Mark Nichols: Supporting Sustainable Development

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals lie at the heart of everything we do. This is why....
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Sam Athey has studied both synthetic and natural microfibres. We asked about her recent studies. Samantha Athey is a PhD student at the University of Toronto's School of Earth Sciences, and an expert on how washing clothes is generating pollution in the environment. Sam specialises in research examining how microfibres and chemicals from clothing are contaminating the Great Lakes and oceans around Canada. She has just published important research showing how microfibres from denim jeans are polluting the farthest reaches of the planet.... You specialise in studying microfibre and chemical loss from clothing. What led you to this area? During my undergraduate and Masters programs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, I conducted research on the impacts of microplastics on marine and estuarine organisms (read more about this work here). What interested me most about this work, was how chemical contaminants interact with microplastics / microfibers and the implications of this phenomenon in the environment. For my PhD dissertation research at the University of Toronto, I am investigating the release pathways of microfibers and associated chemical contaminants. More specifically, I am interested in the role that microfibers play in the release of chemical contaminants to the environment. Microfibre pollution is a significant environmental issue. Can you give us a sense of just how big it is? Microfibers, a majority of which come from textiles, are a widespread form of anthropogenic pollution. These small fibers have been documented in nearly every environment on Earth, from indoor air in Australian homes to remote Canadian Arctic sediments. They have also been found in products destined for human consumption - e.g. tap water, beer and seafood. As I am typing this, I can see microfibers in the dust between my keyboard keys! Do you think people know about microfibres... and that they are unwittingly causing pollution just by wearing and washing clothes? Awareness of the microfiber pollution issue is growing. However, I do believe there is a general misunderstanding of the source and general nature of microfiber pollution. Most research and communication on the issue has focused on plastic microfibers. The problem with this view is that it neglects a large portion of anthropogenic microfibers that we find in the environment. Microfibers can also consist of natural or semi-synthetic materials (e.g. cotton, rayon) that are modified using synthetic chemical additives. While these fibers do degrade faster than their plastic counterparts, ‘natural’ fibers are sufficiently persistent to potentially cause impacts to ecosystems. These ‘natural’ fibers have been found to be widespread in the environment and, in many cases, are more abundant than their plastic counterparts. This means that research, communication and solutions devised to address this issue need to have consideration for the complete suite of anthropogenic microfibers (i.e. not simplifying the solution to just switching to natural textiles). You recently published research into the extent of 'natural' microfibre pollution from denim jeans. Why did you choose to study denim? This study came about in a rather unique way. My co-authors and I focus on different environments and in a lab meeting we were discussing the type of anthropogenic fibers we were finding in our samples. Cotton dyed with indigo was a common type of fiber throughout all of our samples. As the group was wondering where or what these fibers were coming from, Miriam Diamond - Professor and corresponding author on the study - said something along the lines of: Oh my - I bet it's blue jeans! Thus, the goal of tracing these fibers to their source was born. Ultimately, denim provides a prime and personal example of how the remnants of our clothing is far-reaching (from your washing machine to the Arctic Ocean). What did you find? We found microfibers to be abundant across all environments and sites that we sampled in our study - from the Canadian Arctic to the Great Lakes. One of the most common types of microfibers we found were cotton fibers dyed with synthetic indigo dye. Because these fibers were also prevalent in effluent samples taken from wastewater treatment plants, we concluded that clothes washing may be a source of these fibers to the aquatic environment via wastewater. To determine if washing blue jeans was in fact a source of these fibers to the environment, we conducted a series of controlled washing experiments. We captured and analyzed the types of fibers released from washing denim and compared them to the fibers found in the environment - and they matched! So, we were able to conclude that blue jeans are a source of microfibers to the environment via wastewater from suburban to remote areas. Were you surprised by the extent of the denim fibres you found? Sadly, we were not surprised to find denim fibers throughout our environmental samples. Blue jeans are a widely popular garment across the globe (with approximately 450 million pairs sold annually in the US alone). We know that fibers can be released from our clothing (including denim) during normal wear and tear, as well as washing and drying. These dislodged fibers can then enter the environment through several different pathways (e.g., wastewater). Do we know how long these fibres can last in the environment and the ocean? While we know that ‘natural’ fibers, like denim, do not last as long in the environment as plastic microfibers, our study provides evidence for the long-range transport of denim fibers (potentially via atmospheric or oceanic currents), as well as ingestion by biota. This means that these types of microfibers are sufficiently persistent to contaminate remote areas across the globe, where they could be of concern to wildlife. Could these microfibres be harmful to wildlife - and potentially us? This is a good question – and one of the questions that we have coming from our study! Now that we know these fibers are widespread in the environment and being ingested by biota, our next steps are to investigate the effects and implications for wildlife. Denim is made from cotton - classed as a natural fibre. From an environmental perspective, should we be choosing natural fibre clothing over synthetic fabrics? Good question! In terms of microfiber pollution, research is relatively limited, but past studies that have compared fabric types have found cotton sheds more microfibers than synthetic fabrics (e.g., polyester). This makes sense since one of the reasons synthetic fabrics are so popular is their durability. However, because all fabrics shed microfibers that contaminate the environment, the solution to microfiber pollution is more complicated than simply switching fabric types. When considering the environmental impact of the material that your clothing is created from, you should also consider other factors, such as greenhouse gas emissions, water and pesticide usage, etc. Science has done an amazing job highlighting microfibre pollution. But it hasn't really told us whether it matters - whether it could be harmful. Should we be concerned? Research on the impacts of microfibers is just now coming out and the impacts of plastic fibers (let alone non-plastic fibers) to humans and wildlife are still not fully understood. However, as we have shown in our study, this form of anthropogenic pollution is widespread. Until we understand the impacts, we should be taking preventative steps to mitigate the potential impact of microfibers on the environment. How can we stop, or at least reduce microfibre pollution? We have identified a couple of steps that a person could take to reduce the quantity of microfibers released from their laundering: Wash your jeans less often (manufacturers recommend washing once a month at most, if possible) Use a washing machine filter or other device to trap microfibers released during washing When in the market for a new pair of jeans, purchase used or second hand (our study shows used jeans shed less fibers than new jeans). For the most part, these best practices hold true for other types of garment as well. Should washing machines change to include filters to catch microfibres? In the past, some washing machines made in North America had lint filters similar to those found in tumble dryers. So washing machines certainly can be manufactured with filters to remove lint (including microfibers) and other debris from the wash. Research from our group has shown that washing machine filters are effective at diverting microfibers from entering the aquatic environment through wastewater discharge via washing. Politicians have done a lot of work on reducing plastic waste such as bags and straws. In your opinion, should they also be focusing on microfibre pollution? Because microfibers are one of the most common forms of anthropogenic particles (e.g., microplastics) that we find in environmental samples, I do think that legislative action on this issue is possible (as seen in California, Connecticut and New York). This may involve the establishment of diverse working groups to address the problem, establishing requirements for clothing manufacturers and evaluating microfiber filtration systems. Sam Athey. You can learn more about Sam Athey’s work on microfibres and the environment on her website and microfibre blog, and you can follow her on Twitter @sustainablesam_ All images have been reproduced with the kind permission of Sam Athey, who retains all copyright. [Sustainability, Guest Post, Filtration]

Q&A With Samantha Athey: Microfibre Scientist

Sam Athey has studied both synthetic and natural microfibres. We asked about her recent studies....
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Microfibres from natural sources, like the cotton used to make jeans, could be just as damaging Over the last few years many of us have become familiar with the word ‘microfibres’ – tiny pieces of the fabric used to make our clothes, which break off when we wash and wear them. In most cases, when we talk about microfibres we think of clothes made from synthetic fabrics like polyester or nylon, which are made from the same oil-based compounds used to make many other plastic items, like straws or carrier bags. When microfibres break off from these clothes they form a type of microplastic and are a major source of pollution, affecting the deepest parts of the ocean and the farthest reaches of the Arctic. But now scientists are beginning to ask a troubling question – could ‘natural’ microfibres, like cotton, also be a problem? Denim It’s estimated that on any given day half the world’s population could be wearing jeans. But our love affair with this wardrobe staple is having an impact on the environment. An important study by the University of Toronto has found evidence of indigo-dyed microfibres, from jeans in deep Arctic waters, sediment samples and the Great Lakes Huron and Ontario. In fact, the study found that fibres from denim jeans were so widespread that they made up between 10%-23% of ALL the microfibres found during the research. Other findings show: 1 pair of used jeans can shed 56,000 microfibres per wash More than 13 million denim microfibres could be released from laundry in just 1 Canadian household every year Breaking Down Until now, scientists studying microfibre pollution have tended to focus on synthetic fibres which present a potentially serious threat to marine environments and wildlife. Around 500,000 tonnes are released into the ocean every year from washing clothes and, once in the ocean, they last for a very long time. To date, researchers have been less concerned by the scale and impact of ‘natural’ microfibres on the assumption that, as an organic substance, they will rapidly degrade in ocean environments. But Toronto’s study suggests that may not the case. It shows that ‘natural’ microfibres can last a long time in the environment, certainly long enough to be transported great distances on Arctic ocean currents. And other research has suggested that there may actually be more ‘natural’ microfibres in the ocean than synthetic. If that is true then many of the natural microfibres shed from clothes made decades ago, before the rapid growth in the use of synthetics, could still be floating around in the oceans today. Not that ‘natural’ One of the reasons suggested by the Toronto researchers that ‘natural’ fibres do not break down in the environment, is the addition of chemicals during the manufacturing process. These include things like flame retardants or, in the case of Toronto’s study of jeans, the addition of indigo dyes. It could be these types of chemical processes that are responsible for slowing down the degradation of natural fibres in the environment. In fact, Toronto argues that these processes modify natural fibres to such an extent that they do not refer to denim microfibres as ‘natural’ at all. Instead, Toronto prefers to call them ‘AC’ microfibres or ‘Anthropologically Modified Cellulose’. All naturally sourced fibres go through a series of chemical processes whilst being turned into fabrics and garments and, just like denim, they will shed microfibres when they are washed. Should We Stop Buying Synthetic? If natural fibres like cotton shed as many (or more) microfibres than synthetics fibres like polyester, and they last a long time in the environment, should we stop buying synthetic clothes and only buy natural instead? This is an argument often put forward by some campaigners who believe that naturally sourced fibres are a more sustainable choice. But based on the latest microfibre research the short answer must be, no. There are other important environmental considerations too. Cotton, for example, takes huge amounts of water to produce, mainly due to it being such a thirsty crop to grow. Analysis by Levi, more than a decade ago, showed that a single pair of jeans consumed 3,781 litres of water across its entire lifecycle, with almost 70% of that used in just growing cotton. That’s more water than an average person will drink in more than three years – for just one pair of jeans. Further Study is Required Further research will be needed to understand just how long these ‘natural’ microfibres last in the environment, the impact they have and, crucially, what damage they can cause to delicate ecosystems, wildlife and us. But Toronto’s study of denim microfibres shows that we can no longer talk only about microplastics when we talk about microfibre pollution. Naturally sourced fibres in our clothes could present as big a problem to our rivers, oceans, wildlife and us. You can read more about the research into denim and microfibres in our Q&A with Samantha Athey, Microfibre Scientist. Or read more about the practical steps you can take to minimise microfibre pollution from your laundry. [Sustainability, Apparel, Blog, consumer]

Microfibres: The Problem is Bigger than Plastic

Microfibres from natural sources, like the cotton used to make jeans, could be just as damaging...
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Washing clothes, particularly those containing synthetic fibres, is a major source of environmental pollution. We take a look at the issue and suggest some simple steps you can take to reduce it... There is a certain irony in the fact that washing our clothes causes pollution. But every time we do the laundry, hundreds of thousands of tiny fibres - known as microfibres - are washed off our clothes, down the drain and into the environment. As many as 700,000 microfibres can be released from a single load of laundry. In the UK alone it’s estimated that at least 9 trillion microfibres are released into the waste water system every week. A significant number of these pass through water treatment facilities and flow freely into rivers and oceans - where they become marine pollution that can be ingested by all kinds of creatures, and enter our food chain and water supplies. Microfibres and Microplastics All our clothes shed fibres when they are washed, regardless of the material they are made from. This will come as no surprise to anyone who owns a tumble dryer. The ‘fluff’ that gets caught in the dryer filter is the same material – clothing fibres – that break off in the wash. A significant proportion of these are microplastics - shed from garments which are made from synthetic materials like nylon and polyester. Good examples of clothing manufactured from man-made fibres include high performance sports and outdoor garments, as well as any item with 'stretch'.  These synthetic microfibres are sometimes referred to as microplastic fibres (or microplastic fibers in the US!) and collectively they are the single biggest source of primary microplastics entering our oceans every year. Globally, it amounts to about 500,000 tonnes per annum - this is equivalent to every single person on the planet throwing 15 plastic shopping bags directly into the sea, every year. A Growing Problem In many households around the world, washing machines have become essential items. There are something like 800 million in use around the world today and an average household will use their machine about four times a week. That’s a lot of laundry releasing a lot of microfibres and, as the global population increases, more washing machines in more households will mean more microfibres are released into the environment every day - until something is done to stop it. Stopping the Flow A permanent solution will require action at many levels and include: Producing clothes and textiles that don’t shed as many microfibres Buying fewer clothes and washing them less often Developing better wastewater management systems Another obvious place for attention is our washing machines. A very significant proportion of the microfibres released during laundry cycles could be prevented from entering the environment by simply re-engineering washing machines to include filtration technology to prevent microfibre release. But today, there are no washing machines on sale that have this technology. We believe there should be. So do others. France recently passed laws that require microplastic filters in all new washing machines by 2025. But until filtration technology is standard in all new washing machines, we will continue to pollute the environment every time we do the laundry. Fortunately, there are some simple, practical steps you can take to mitigate the issue until you are able to purchase a new machine incorporating effective filtration technology... Keep Clothes for Longer New clothes are great. The first time we wear them they look and feel amazing. Sadly, that look and feel can quickly fade as a result of washing. But while they may look great, new clothes also release significantly more microfibres than older garments when they are washed. At Xeros, our own data shows that a new garment may shed as many as 8 times more microfibres than the same garment after 5 washes. After that, microfibre release stabilises at a much lower level. So, buying fewer new clothes and keeping the ones we have for longer can significantly reduce microfibre release during washing. Wash Less Often There is lot of debate around how often you need to wash different garments for hygiene purposes, and how often you should wash them to get them clean. The CEO of the denim company Levi made headlines recently by saying he rarely washes his jeans and denim aficionados actually argue you should never wash them. The chances are we all wash garments far more frequently that we need to. And if each wash produces 700,000 microfibres, it stands to reason that fewer wash cycles will reduce the number of microfibres released to the environment. Turn off the Tap! One major factor affecting microfibre release is water. The more water that is used during a wash cycle, the more microfibres are released. Studies have shown that by reducing the volume of water used during washing cycles, the number of microfibres released from garments can be reduced significantly. This simple step can reduce microfibre release by as much as 30%. But be aware that some wash cycles which may sound like they could help – like delicate cycles – can actually make matters worse. That’s because they use more water and, as a result, more microfibres are shed. Line dry or Tumble dry If you can, you should probably line dry clothes rather than tumble dry them. Our data shows that while the lint filter in a tumble dryer can capture shed fibres, the process of tumbling could lead to a higher rate of shedding as the strength of the fibres may be reduced. Although, from an environmental perspective, by far the biggest advantage of line drying is saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Stop buying Synthetics? One suggestion that many support is to stop buying synthetic garments and only buy clothes made using natural fibres. But ALL fibres shed microfibres, regardless of whether they are cotton or nylon. For a long time researchers felt that natural microfibres didn’t matter because they would degrade in the environment - something synthetics don’t do. But researchers are now questioning whether this is true... Scientists are finding that natural fibres can persist in the environment for a very long time, due to chemical treatments applied during manufacture. Many of the chemicals they are treated with can also be toxic to wildlife. Additionally, ALL microfibres can attract harmful pollutants which are already present in the environment. On that basis, it makes no sense to favour natural over synthetic garments – plus, the land, water and fertiliser used to grow cotton means it is far from a sustainable choice. Lobby for Washing Machine Filters Effective in-machine filtration can make a significant difference to the sustainability of our laundry. To date, only one manufacturer has committed to installing filtration in new washing machines, but these machines are not yet available to buy. Environmental charities are lobbying for laws to be changed so ALL new domestic washing machines have filtration technology. In the UK, the Marine Conservation Society is campaigning for legislation to mandate filtration in washing machines. Supporting their campaign and spreading the word would be a great thing to do. If you’re in the process of choosing or buying a new washing machine, ask the retailer why none of the models they sell have filters fitted as standard (despite all of the models they stock having seemingly glowing environmental ratings) or even better, ask the manufacturer directly. While you're at it, why not contact your MP to ask what they are doing about this issue? Solutions built into the machine are best Recent studies by the University of Plymouth tested the effectiveness of various devices at preventing microfibre release from laundry. The results showed that the best washing machine filter, XFiltra (an in-machine filter designed to be installed by manufacturers in new washing machines), can catch almost 80% of all microfibres, Today, several companies sell filters that you can buy to plumb into your current washing machine waste pipes - assuming you have the space outside the machine to mount the equipment and the technical know-how to install it (or a good plumber on call), as well as the ability to afford them.  However, Plymouth’s peer-reviewed scientific study showed that these devices, which are not integral to the machine, caught as little as a quarter of the microfibres. The same study also looked at how effective laundry bags and balls could be in preventing microfibre release. The best example prevented just over half of microfibre release and the worst little more than 20%. But even when these products have done their job, how do you collect and dispose of the microfibres they catch? The chances are, many people will simply run them under a tap – entirely defeating the object and flushing the microfibers straight down the drain. They can also reduce machine capacity and wash performance, leaving your clothes not washed to the same standard as you normally expect, and they are only designed for use with synthetic garments. Keep it Simple Buying products like external filters and laundry bags help consumers take small, positive steps towards limiting the microfibre pollution released from their laundry. Yet in actual fact, simple steps like washing less often and using low-water cycles will probably have a far greater impact. Other ideas, like getting clothes manufacturers to perform pre-sale, filtered washing of new garments to remove the initial high level of microfibre loss, could dramatically reduce the overall release of microfibres from household laundry. Garment manufacturers already perform washing cycles before finished clothes are sold to consumers, so simply need to introduce filtration technology into their equipment. But the quickest, and cheapest step to minimise microfibre pollution from household laundry will be for all washing machines to be fitted with filtration technology as standard. France has taken a first step to making this happen with sweeping environmental legislation. If washing machine manufacturers don’t now take a lead on this, it’s likely other Governments will soon follow France’s example and force the issue. A recent statement from the UK’s environment secretary sums it up: ...manufacturers should harness the latest technology to protect our marine environment and we are keeping the compulsory fitting of microplastic filters under close review. As consumer awareness of microfibre pollution grows, support for filtration increases. A recent UK study by the Marine Conservation Society found most people (81%) support legislation to make microfibre filters mandatory in washing machines. But until the fitting of filters become widespread in the industry it is important that we all try to do what we can to minimise microfibre pollution in the ocean. Our laundry tips can help make a difference. (and of course, if you are a washing machine manufacturer or major retailer that we're not yet in talks with, please do get in touch to learn more about the benefits of our filtration technology!) [Sustainability, Filtration, Blog, consumer]

How to stop the microplastics in your clothes polluting the ocean

Washing clothes, particularly those containing synthetic fibres, is a major source of environmental...
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Xeros named one of 50 'Global Stars of Sustainable Textiles' by leading industry publication, Apparel Insider Xeros Technology Group has been identified as a leading company in the field of sustainable textiles according to the industry publication, Apparel Insider. Xeros features as one of 50 companies in the special publication “Global Stars of Sustainable Textiles” which was produced to capture a picture of an apparel industry in the throes of positive change, driven by an imperative to become more sustainable. The fashion industry is often identified as one of the most environmentally damaging, with many types of garments consuming vast amounts of water and chemicals whilst producing harmful emissions of greenhouse gasses and microplastics. More is happening now in textile innovation than at any time in history, largely due to so much money being ploughed into sustainability. The world of fashion and apparel needs these innovative new ideas like never before and needs them to be scaled. Brett Matthews, Editor of Apparel Insider Xeros’ innovative technologies help improve the sustainability of the clothes we wear by reducing the amount of water, chemistry and energy used during their manufacture and afterwards when they are laundered at home or in commercial laundries. They also extend their life and reduce harmful emissions including microfibres. Speaking about the launch of the special publication, Mark Nichols, Xeros Chief Executive, said: The resources consumed during the lifetime of the garments we wear is unacceptably high given our fast-growing population and rapidly shrinking natural resources. New technologies being developed by enterprises such as the Global Stars, identified by Apparel Insider, are essential to reduce the impact of the clothes we wear on our shared environment. The scale and speed at which we must adopt these new solutions must accelerate if we are to clothe the world without destroying it. Mark Nichols, Xeros CEO   Xeros Technologies in the Textiles Industry This year, Xeros signed an agreement to licence its denim finishing technology with one of India’s leading apparel equipment manufacturers, Ramsons. In denim finishing, Xeros reduces water, energy and chemical use whilst also removing the need to use pumice stone in producing authentic stonewash finishes. The Company is already licencing its technologies in domestic and commercial laundry and Xeros recently signed its first development agreement for the microfibre filtration technology, XFiltra. [Sustainability, News, Apparel, Publications, Commercial Progress]

Xeros Named Textiles Sustainability Star by Apparel Insider

Xeros named one of 50 'Global Stars of Sustainable Textiles' by leading industry publication,...
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The in-machine filtration device from Xeros captures more microfibres than any other device XFiltra, the innovative washing machine filtration technology from Xeros - designed to prevent the release of microplastics from laundry - has been independently verified by scientists at the University of Plymouth as the leading device for reducing the number of microfibres released from washing machines. XFiltra, was tested by Dr Imogen Napper at the University’s International Marine Litter Research Unit, alongside products from other companies to measure their relative effectiveness at capturing microfibres, released from clothes during wash cycles, and preventing their subsequent release in wastewater.   The results show that XFiltra performed significantly better than all other products evaluated. The tests, which were designed to capture microfibres in a mixed wash of synthetic and synthetic/cotton blend garments, show that XFiltra captured 78% of microfibres released during each wash cycle. Similar independent tests conducted by Xeros on purely synthetic garments, show that XFiltra captures over 90% of the microplastic fibres released from them. The University of Plymouth report and test data have been peer reviewed and are published today in the journal Science of The Total Environment. Around 500,000 tonnes of microplastics flow into the world’s oceans every year from washing clothes and textiles containing synthetic fibres, accounting for 35% of all primary microplastics entering the ocean. Mark Nichols, CEO Xeros commented: The pollution of our rivers and oceans with discarded plastic waste is happening at an alarming rate. It’s harming wildlife and our precious and finely balanced ecosystems, with microplastics from washing our clothes being a significant source of contamination. XFiltra was developed with the objective of eliminating this form of pollution and with the belief that every household and commercial washing machine needs to be fitted with low cost, easy to use filtration. We’re delighted that the efficiency of our filtration technology has now been confirmed by independent researchers as a world leading solution which provides every washing machine manufacturer with the ability to make a major contribution to the sustainability of garment lifecycles and our planet. MARK NICHOLS, XEROS CEO   [Sustainability, News, Xeros Technologies, Video, consumer]

XFiltra™ Rated Best Microfibre Filter For Laundry

The in-machine filtration device from Xeros captures more microfibres than any other device...
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Former C&A Chief Innovation Officer to Advise Xeros on Sustainable Apparel Technologies. Donald Brenninkmeijer, former Chief Innovation Officer and Chief Brand, Customer and Sustainability Officer at the international fashion brand C&A, is to work with Xeros to bring his expertise in support of the commercialisation of the Company’s sustainable apparel products. Donald will work as a consultant to Xeros, applying his passion and extensive knowledge in fashion and sustainability to help the group embed its products in the supply chains of major apparel brands and manufacturers. At C&A in Europe, Donald was instrumental in the development and launch of the international retail industry’s first ever Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold garment in collaboration with Fashion for Good, paving the way for a more sustainable future in fashion. Commenting on his role advising Xeros, Donald Brenninkmeijer said: "Everyone working in the clothing and fashion industry is critically aware of the need to produce more sustainable products. They are looking for solutions that can deliver significant reductions in resource consumption and emissions of harmful substances. "I’m looking forward to working with the team at Xeros to help embed their ground-breaking technology across the apparel sector, so they can make a meaningful difference." Improving the sustainability of the clothes we wear is no longer an option, it is an imperative. We must adopt new technologies and do things differently as consumers if we are to preserve our environment for future generations. The clothing industry is critically aware of the need for change with a number of brands and retailers implementing major programmes to reduce consumption and waste across the whole value chain. Donald’s expertise and track record in improving the sustainability of apparel supply chains, market understanding and insight across the sector, will be immensely valuable in helping us increase the deployment of our solutions. Mark Nichols, Xeros CEO [Sustainability, Xeros News]

Former Head of Innovation at C&A joins Xeros

Former C&A Chief Innovation Officer to Advise Xeros on Sustainable Apparel Technologies. Donald...
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Xeros process makes blue jeans greener Denim is one of the world’s most popular fabrics and with more than one billion pairs of jeans produced ever year, they’re one of our favourite garments. But our love of denim is putting enormous pressure on the environment consuming vast quantities of water, chemicals, energy and, for those who prefer a stonewashed look, pumice stone. The world’s biggest denim manufacturers use hundreds of tonnes of pumice every month, most of which will only last for two or three process cycles before it requires disposal, often to landfill. READ HOW XEROS IMPROVES THE SUSTAINABILITY & ECONOMICS OF DENIM FINISHING New technologies, including those developed by Xeros are emerging to address resource consumption and lessen the environmental impact of our jeans. Mark Nichols, CEO of Xeros says: "Improving the sustainability of the clothes we wear is no longer an option; it is an imperative. Without major changes in the way denim garments are made, the pressure on our environment will simply become intolerable." The application of Xeros’ products to denim finishing significantly reduces consumption of water, chemistry and energy and replaces pumice stone completely. Mark Nichols continues: “We understand that the industry is highly competitive and consumers are reluctant to pay more for sustainability. We have designed our products with industry leaders to help them achieve their objectives to improve sustainability without compromising on either cost or quality.” This week Xeros, together with Ramsons Garment Finishing Equipments Ltd will be showcasing our denim finishing solutions to major garment manufacturers in India at Garment Technology Expo and again in February at the Dhaka International Textile and Garment Machinery Exhibition. For more information please contact us at: enquiries@xerostech.com [Sustainability, Apparel, Xeros Technologies, Blog, Publications]

Brochure | Improving Sustainability in Denim Finishing

Xeros process makes blue jeans greener Denim is one of the world’s most popular fabrics and with...
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New paper presents detailed analysis of how XFiltra™ can help prevent microfibres ending up in the world’s oceans Every year more than half a million tons of microfibres are released into the world's oceans from the simple act of washing our clothes. For the last three years Xeros has dedicated itself to preventing this by developing a cost-effective and highly efficient filtration system designed to be an integral part of any washing machine. Today, Xeros is publishing a paper on its work offering a summary of the issue and extent of microfibre pollution, plus a detailed assessment of XFiltra including the results of our in-house testing data. It’s now well known that washing our clothes generates tiny plastic fibres that end up in our rivers and oceans. It’s also well known that these fragments are present in our food and water supplies. With XFiltra, we have developed an effective and highly efficient way of preventing this from happening. We have chosen to take the wraps off XFiltra to be open and transparent about our solution. Today, not a single washing machine is manufactured with effective microfibre filtration. I hope that this paper will help convince manufacturers, retailers, brands, politicians and consumers of the need for change. Mark Nichols, CEO of Xeros Click this link to access a copy of Addressing Microplastic Pollution From Laundry [Sustainability, News, Xeros Technologies, Filtration, Blog, Publications]

Whitepaper | Tackling Microplastic Pollution From Laundry

New paper presents detailed analysis of how XFiltra™ can help prevent microfibres ending up in the...
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Xeros is recognised by the London Stock Exchange as contributing to the global ‘Green Economy’ Xeros Technology Group is among the first cohort of companies and funds to be awarded London Stock Exchange’s new Green Economy Mark. This new classification, introduced on 11 October 2019, has been created to highlight companies and investment funds listed on all segments of London Stock Exchange’s Main Market and AIM that are driving the global green economy. To qualify for the Green Economy Mark, companies and funds must generate 50% or more of their total annual revenues from products and services that contribute to the global green economy. The underlying methodology incorporates the Green Revenues data model developed by FTSE Russell. It provides a detailed taxonomy of environmental goods, products and services, and is designed to recognise both ‘pure-play’ green technology companies, as well as those across all industries that make significant contributions to the transition to a sustainable, low carbon economy. Mark Nichols, CEO Xeros said: “As our planet and its natural resources become increasingly stressed, businesses and consumers are turning to companies like ours to offer sustainable alternatives. Just 3.5% of companies listed in London have received this award from the Stock Exchange, which acknowledges the work we are doing to create products that help to protect the environment for future generations.” We’re delighted to announce the first group of companies and funds that are receiving the Green Economy Mark. There is growing investor demand for actionable climate and environment-related financial information, with global asset allocations to green and sustainable finance increasing each year. The launch of the Green Economy Mark underlines our commitment supporting issuers and investors in the transition to a greener economy. Nikhil Rathi, CEO, London Stock Exchange plc and Director, International Development, LSEG   [Sustainability, News, Xeros Technologies]

Xeros awarded London Stock Exchange Green Economy Mark

Xeros is recognised by the London Stock Exchange as contributing to the global ‘Green Economy’...
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10-year development and licencing agreement with IFB Industries for domestic and commercial washing machines Xeros Technology Group has signed a major development and licencing agreement with the Indian company IFB Industries to incorporate Xeros’ unique water-saving XOrb™ and XDrum™ technologies into a range of IFB’s domestic and commercial washing machines. IFB is the leading Indian company in the supply of both domestic appliances and commercial washing machines. The agreement is a major step for Xeros in commercialising its technologies and an exciting opportunity bringing Xeros technology to the domestic washing machine market. Full details of the announcement can be found here India is facing extreme water stress. A recent report suggested more than 600 million Indians face acute water shortages and 40% of the population will have “no access to drinking water” by 2030. This agreement with IFB is another major milestone in the commercialisation of our cleaning technologies.   IFB ’s capabilities and market reach make them a very strong commercialisation partner in a country where water demand is expected to increase by more than 60% over the next 30 years with some 80% of the current population already impacted by water scarcity.   With this agreement, IFB’s customers will be able to reduce water, detergent and energy consumption whilst simultaneously benefitting from improved cleaning performance and garment life extension. Mark Nichols, Chief Executive of Xeros   [Sustainability, Cleaning, News, Xeros Technologies]

Domestic and Commercial Laundry Deal Secured in India

10-year development and licencing agreement with IFB Industries for domestic and commercial washing...
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Over 5 years Xeros has saved 887,275,729 litres of water To mark World Water Day 2019, we have calculated how much water our XOrb™ technology has saved our commercial laundry customers. During the last five years, our near-waterless washing machines, which reduce water use by up to 80 per cent and are certified an Environmentally Preferable Product, have saved just over 887.2 MILLION litres of water – enough to keep the taps running for a year in 5,377 UK households or to power 148 million toilet flushes. A rapidly growing, increasingly urbanised population is causing extreme water-stress in many parts of the world. Globally, more than 844 million people do not have access to clean water and by 2050 one in four people will be affected by recurring water shortages. Even the UK could face water shortages within 25 years. So, it is more important than ever that we work to divert water away from industry and processes to where it is needed most, people. We are committed to creating a more sustainable planet and to protect and conserve one of our most precious resources – water. Read more about our core purpose and how we’re helping our commercial laundry customers save water.   [Sustainability, Cleaning, Xeros Technologies, Blog, consumer]

Xeros saves over 850 million litres of water

Over 5 years Xeros has saved 887,275,729 litres of water To mark World Water Day 2019, we have...
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Commercial laundry system is the world's only washing machine awarded Environmentally Preferable Product status Xeros Technology Group has secured a prestigious environmental certification by SCS Global Services, a global leader in environmental and sustainability verification. The certification recognises Xeros’ commercial washing machine as an Environmentally Preferable Product, based on a life cycle assessment of the company’s 25kg machine, operated by Xeros’ commercial laundry business, Hydrofinity. Full details can be found here. To complete the assessment SCS Global evaluated the Xeros' Hydrofinity machine over more than 20,000 wash cycles, testing factors including: water use, energy demand and carbon emissions among other environmental impacts. The results showed that the Hydrofinity machine demonstrated better performance across the board including energy savings of up to 86 per cent (during the use stage) and water savings up to 63 per cent. The results of SCS Global’s certification is validation of the work we are doing to apply our innovative, sustainable technologies across our Hydrofinity business.   In a world where precious natural resources are becoming increasingly stressed, we can no longer accept conventional thinking about every-day, water and energy intensive processes such as laundry.   At Xeros we are committed to developing our innovative technologies to reimagine these processes and divert resources away from industrial processes to where they are needed most – people. Mark Nichols, Chief Executive Officer of Xeros Technology Group     [Sustainability, Cleaning, News, Xeros Technologies]

Xeros secures Environmentally Preferable Product certification

Commercial laundry system is the world's only washing machine awarded Environmentally Preferable...
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Xeros Technology Group welcomes publication of the Environmental Audit Committee’s final report into the sustainability of the fashion industry. Xeros Technology Group welcomes publication of the Environmental Audit Committee’s final report into the sustainability of the fashion industry. Xeros is pleased to see that the Committee has recognised the need to find a solution to the issue of microfibre pollution resulting from domestic laundry but is disappointed the committee has not gone further to embrace an immediate solution. In written evidence to the inquiry, Xeros recommended the committee should consider whether microfibre filters should be fitted as standard in all new washing machines as the quickest and most cost-effective solution to this form of pollution. But in today’s report the committee recommends the UK Government should facilitate collaboration between the fashion industry, water companies and washing machine manufacturers and take a lead on solving the problem of microfibre pollution. It’s good to see that the committee recognises the importance of tackling this unseen and potentially harmful form of plastic pollution.   However, it’s disappointing the committee has not taken this opportunity to embrace technologies, such as ours, which can offer an immediate solution and help consumers to stop unwittingly polluting the environment every time they turn on the washing machine.   Every week, UK households are potentially releasing more than 9 trillion plastic fibres into the environment just by washing their clothes. We cannot permit this level of pollution to continue while we wait for further research or for new fibres and textiles to come to market.   Technology exists to stop it. We are ready to work with Government and industry to demonstrate why filters in washing machines offer the quickest and most cost-effective solution to plastic pollution from our clothes. Mark Nichols, CEO Xeros Technology Group   [Sustainability, News, Apparel]

Xeros Responds To Environmental Audit Committee Report On Sustainable Fashion

Xeros Technology Group welcomes publication of the Environmental Audit Committee’s final report...
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Xeros Technology Group plc is calling on UK politicians to consider measures to lessen the environmental impact of the fashion industry. Xeros Technology Group plc is calling on UK politicians to consider implementing measures to lessen the environmental impact of the fashion industry. In a written submission to the UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee inquiry into the sustainability of the fashion industry, which is examining the resource use and water footprint of clothing and how levels of pollution can be reduced, Xeros is calling on MPs to consider how the company’s innovative technology could be used to support measures across the industry to lessen pollution and water consumption. Xeros is asking politicians to consider whether filters should be fitted to all new domestic washing machines, sold in the UK, to stem the flow of plastic microfibre pollution into the world’s rivers and oceans. The company also asks whether the environmental labelling used by manufacturers and retailers could be amended to include information about filtration and microfibre pollution to help consumers make better choices. Xeros has also presented MPs with evidence about how its technology can be used to significantly reduce the amount of water (energy and chemicals) used by textile manufacturers during garment production, and asked MPs to consider whether garment labelling could be amended to include information about water consumption, empowering consumers to make more informed choices. Xeros Technology Group’s written submission can be found here Full details and background to the UK Parliament Inquiry into the sustainability of the fashion industry can be found here [Sustainability, Xeros Technologies, Blog, consumer]

Xeros calls for action to lessen the environmental impact of clothing and laundry

Xeros Technology Group plc is calling on UK politicians to consider measures to lessen the...
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XFiltra is an innovative new technology which can be integrated into any size washing machine to reduce the amount of microplastic fibres released with effluent by up to 99%. This prevents these potentially dangerous tiny particles from being consumed by plankton and entering our food chain, as well as being found in our drinking water.  [Sustainability, Xeros Technologies, Filtration, Infographics]

Infographic | XFiltra Microplastic Filtration

XFiltra is an innovative new technology which can be integrated into any size washing machine to...
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