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
Another event: Workshop on Microplastics from Tyre Wear on 18-20 May 2020
The workshop informed the development of the OECD report “ Policies to Reduce Microplastics in Water: Focus on Textiles and Tyres”.
Microplastics are ubiquitous in the natural environment. This report synthesises the current state of knowledge on the sources, fate and risks of microplastics pollution. It then focuses on two sources of microplastics pollution, textile products and vehicle tyres, due to their substantial contribution to global microplastics emissions and currently largely absent policy frameworks to mitigate them. Several best practices and technological solutions can be implemented along the lifecycle of textile products and vehicle tyres to mitigate releases to the environment. The report proposes policy insights on measures and strategies that could help minimise microplastics emitted unintentionally from products and their potential impacts on human health and ecosystems.