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As part of the ongoing and growing concern for contamination of waste streams, waterways and its effect on wildlife and waste collection, several states have drafted, and in one case, approved, laws to address plastic microfiber contamination. The purpose of this bulletin is to create awareness.
Definitions to Consider:
• Bill covers synthetic microfibers in an article of clothing
• No definition is provided for the term “synthetic microfibers”
• “Clothing" means an article of apparel intended to be worn by a person, not including hats or shoes.
• "Plastic microfiber" means a small synthetic particle that is fibrous in shape, less than five millimeters in length, and is released into water through the regular washing of textiles made from synthetic material.”
• “Microfiber is a subcategory of microplastic that is shed from synthetic fabric when that fabric is washed. These small, nondegradable fibers that are less than 5 millimeters in length…”
Summary of Each Bill:
Connecticut: Senate Bill No 341 has been signed to address CLOTHING FIBER POLLUTION and its’ effective date is July 1, 2018. On this date a working industry apparel group and the environmental community will be formed to evaluate and educate the consumer on the environmental effects of synthetic microfibers used in clothing. Part of this evaluation will look at the process of shedding microfibers from the clothing and its effect on the waterways. The result of this review will also develop best practices to reduce the shedding and eliminate microfibers from clothing for the brands.
New York: Bill No A10599: New York has introduced a bill for review and consideration. In this Bill, Microfiber Labeling requirements are included, stating that consumers be notified on all products containing more than 50 % synthetic material that such clothing sheds plastic microfibers when washed. The bill proposes statements to be included on both care labels and hangtags, recommending hand washing to reduce shedding.
California: Assembly Bill No. 2379: California is proposing that new clothing made from fabric that is composed of more than 50% synthetic material bear a conspicuous label that is visible to consumers at the point of sale, in the form of a sticker, hang tag, or any other label type, with specified information, including a statement that the garment sheds plastic microfibers when washed. Any clothing containing more than 50% synthetic material sold without the label would be banned and subject to fines.
• Connecticut: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2018/amd/H/2018HB-05360-R00HA-AMD.htm
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