OECD Workshop on Microplastics from Synthetic Textiles in the Environment: Knowledge, Mitigation and Policy
Microplastics pollution originating from synthetic textiles is an emerging environmental and human health concern which has received little policy attention to date. However, new scientific evidence and emerging technologies provide an opportunity to increase our understanding of the occurrence and impacts of microfibres in the environment, and to implement mitigation solutions for microplastics leakage at different stages of the life cycle of textile products.
This workshop gathered representatives of government, academia, business, wastewater utilities, civil society, and IGOs to discuss the potential of mitigation solutions for synthetic microfibre pollution from textiles. It provided a platform to share lessons learnt from the latest research on microplastic shedding from synthetic textiles, identify technological solutions and best practices aimed at mitigating the release of synthetic microfibres during the use of textile products, and discuss policy options to prevent and manage microplastics pollution of marine and fresh waters.
The workshop had sessions dedicated to the following topics:
- An overview of the latest science over the sources, pathways into the environment, and impacts of microplastics
- The role of product design and manufacturing in preventing microfibre leakage
- Mitigation options implementable during the use-phase of textile products
- Capture: the removal of microfibres via wastewater treatment
- The development of preliminary policy recommendations to tackle microplastics pollution from textiles
The outcomes of the workshop will inform an OECD report on policy responses to mitigate secondary microplastics in the freshwater and marine environments, which will feature case studies and conclude with policy recommendations.