Plastiglomerate and the Fashion Industry: A Growing Concern

Blog Post by: Karun Tyagi

Plastic pollution has emerged as one of today’s most serious environmental issues. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the production of disposable plastic, as well as an increase in the amount of plastic waste. We have now reached a point where approximately 8 million tonnes of plastic rubbish are dumped into the oceans each year. Images of plastic bags, synthetic textiles and straws floating in the ocean have reached everyone.

Plastiglomerate is a type of rock-like material made from melted plastic waste and other kinds of trash, like sand, shells, and rocks. Charles Moore, a sea captain and oceanographer for the Algalita Marine Research Institute in Long Beach, California, found this substance in 2006 while surveying Kamilo Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii. Dr. Patricia Corcoran and Kelly Jazvac of the University of Western Ontario studied the samples on Kamilo Beach in 2012, where they also came up with the term “plastiglomerate.”

Plastiglomerates are made when plastic waste is burned or melted and then mixed with natural materials to make a hard substance. Most of the time, they often found near the coast, where plastic trash washes up on beaches and then gets hot from the sun or fires.

The fact that plastiglomerates form is a cause for concern because they show how much plastic waste hurts the environment. The material doesn’t break down in the environment and can stay there for hundreds of years. Plastiglomerates are also dangerous to marine life because they can look like food and be eaten by animals, which could be bad for their health.

The fashion industry, with its high dependence on synthetic materials and plastic-based packaging, is a substantial contributor to plastic pollution and, consequently, to the formation of plastiglomerate. The production and disposal of clothing made from synthetic textiles and plastic-based materials generate vast amounts of plastic waste that ends up in landfills, oceans, and on beaches. When exposed to high temperatures, this plastic waste can melt and fuse with other debris to form plastiglomerate. Moreover, the fashion industry’s usage of plastic-based packaging contributes to the total quantity of plastic trash produced. This plastic trash can eventually end up in the environment and contribute to plastiglomerate development.

The fashion industry can play a critical role in addressing this issue by adopting more sustainable practises. Fashion designers, for example, can use natural and biodegradable materials such as cotton, linen, and hemp instead of synthetic textiles. They can also promote the use of recycled materials and implement sustainable manufacturing practises to reduce the overall amount of plastic waste generated by their operations.

Another way the fashion industry can help reduce the formation of plastiglomerate is to reduce the use of plastic-based materials in packaging. Brands can help prevent the formation of plastiglomerate by using more sustainable and biodegradable alternatives, such as paper or compostable materials.

Education and awareness are also important in addressing the problem of plastiglomerate and plastic pollution. The fashion industry can play a role in educating consumers about the environmental impact of plastic waste and promoting responsible consumption and disposal habits. By encouraging consumers to recycle and properly dispose of plastic waste, we can help reduce the overall amount of plastic waste in the environment and reduce the formation of plastiglomerate.

In conclusion, Plastiglomerate is a new geological material that demonstrates the environmental impact of plastic waste. Plastiglomerate formation is a concerning issue that highlights the need to address the issue of plastic pollution. We can help reduce plastic waste generation and the environmental impact of Plastiglomerate by adopting more sustainable practises and promoting education and awareness.

Image Source: e flux Journel


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