ETC/CE Report 1/2022: Microplastic pollution from textile consumption in Europe

10 Feb 2022

Saskia Manshoven, Anse Smeets, Christian Malarciuc, Anna Tenhunen, Lars Fogh Mortensen

This ETC/CE report provides the detailed analysis underpinning the EEA Briefing “Microplastics from textiles: towards a circular economy for textiles in Europe”.

In recent years, concern about microplastic pollution in our seas, land and air has increased. While some microplastics are produced on purpose for dedicated applications, most result from weathering and degradation of plastic products. Among other sources, wearing and washing of synthetic textiles is regarded as a significant source of microplastics in the environment, responsible for the discharge of between 0.2 and 0.5 million tonnes of microplastics into the oceans each year.

The aim of this report is to contribute to an improved understanding of microplastics release from textiles and their effects on the environment and human health. Next, the report explores potential approaches to reduce their release from textiles.