Your Laundry Wastewater is Killing the Ocean. Here's How to Stop It

All of us wear laundered clothes, yet few of us think about where the dirty water coming out of the washing machine goes. But Rachel Miller is a cofounder of the nonprofit Rozalia Project, which deals with marine waste on America’s East Coast, and she knows exactly where it goes: Into the ocean.

This presents a major textiles-based pollution problem. “We are eating our fleece,” Miller writes. “Every time we do laundry, our clothes shed tiny microfibers (including plastic), which go down the drains of our washing machines, through wastewater treatment facilities and into our waterways.

The single biggest pollution problem facing our ocean is microfiber: trillions of pieces of tiny fibers flowing into the ocean – every time we use our washing machines. Our clothing is breaking up, sending this microfiber (made of plastic and chemical-covered non-plastics) out with the drain water – just one fleece jacket could shed up to 250,000 pieces per garment per wash [source]. New York City, alone, could have 6.8 billion microfibers flowing into its harbor every day. We are all contributing to this problem.

To combat this, the Rozalia Project designed a simple solution: The coral-inspired Cora Ball.

The Cora Ball is made entirely from recycled plastic (which is why the color combinations may seem odd; the sourcing varies). We’re pleased to see it’s been nearly 3,000% funded at press time, with $274,965 in pledges on a measly $10,000 goal. If you want one of your own, you’d better hurry—there’s just five days left to pledge.

I just pledged myself, as I own two dogs and have been seeking a way to get their hair out of my laundry batches. Side benefit to saving the ocean.

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