Five European industry associations representing the global value chain of garments, namely AISE, CIRFS, EOG, EURATEX and FESI signed the Cross Industry Agreement (CIA), a voluntary collaboration for the prevention of microplastic release into the aquatic environment during the washing of synthetic textiles.

The unintentional release of microplastic into global marine and freshwater is of concern for human health and the environment even though the potential risks remain to be fully assessed, as scientists advise (SAPEA, January 2019). Recently, the focus has shifted to identify and quantify sources of microplastic pollution in order to ultimately find solutions. Research has highlighted the washing of clothing, especially those using synthetic fibres, as one of the direct sources of microplastic release into the aquatic environment.

The CIA signatories believe that to address this issue, coordination of efforts across different domain of knowledge and at a global level is necessary.
The five association therefore agree to support finding effective and economically feasible solutions by:

• Contributing to the development of international standardised test methods to identify and quantify microplastic present in water and the environment;
• Sharing information on progress of research, knowledge gaps, options and priorities;
• Support and participate in industrial research for feasible and effective solutions.

For more details,