Washing your clothes is never a fun chore, but it turns out the ocean isn't a big fan of laundry day either.
As garbage continues to flood our seas, one way tiny plastics are entering our waterways is via washing machine, according to EcoWatch. When you watch synthetic fabrics (think: polyester), tiny fibers are shed from the cloth.
They're called microfibers, and they can't be filtered out by water treatment systems because they're just too small.
According to the Guardian, a 2011 study found that microfibers were present in 85 percent of man-made garbage on the shoreline — worldwide.
It's a problem that affects both freshwater and ocean water, with another study finding 90 percent of water debris is made up of these fibers, per the Guardian.
The outlet reported that experts are worried that aquatic life is consuming these tiny synthetic fibers, and they can accumulate to toxic amounts over time.
Plus, they can absorb other toxic ingredients and become even more dangerous.
Unfortunately, the problem is likely to persist, with Reuters reporting in 2014 that the U.S. was officially importing more synthetic clothing than natural fiber cotton clothing.
But you can actually help stem this flow of fibers into the seas in a couple of different ways.
EcoWatch suggested the Guppyfriend and the Cora Ball as two options for keeping fibers firmly in the wash.
The Guppyfriend is a bag that you put your synthetic clothing into.
Courtesy of Langbrett
Then you wash the bag in your machine, and the bag traps any escaping fibers. It's $34.77 for one of these bags, and you can buy them here.
The Cora Ball is designed to filter the washing machine water like coral.
Courtesy of Coraball
Simply throw the ball into the load and it will trap the fibers for proper disposal. One ball costs $29.99, and you can buy them here.
Until washing machines are (hopefully one day) built with effective filters, these products are a good way to do your part.