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Microfiber polution from washing fleece garments

Microfiber polution from washing fleece garments is corrupting both soil and river/ocean water with microscopic bits of plastic fiber.  I'm trying to move away from my fleece sweaters, but when I went to REI recently I couldn't find any wool sweaters, though you carry some under layer merino tops and bottoms.  Wool sweaters are so basic and traditional.  Have you not yet put out your winter merchandise or is this a new marketing choice? 

7 Replies

The simplest solution is to stop washing your fleece.  Is there evidence that the microparticlescause any harm?

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one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Science is just beginning to understand the quantity and sources of microplastics that humans intake, many are linked to the food chain, but we also inhale them.

Here is a good piece from Nat Geo on it:


@drodum thanks so much for the question(s)!

Two-fold answer:

  1. We wanted to share this article on microfibers, the co-op's research into them and their impact on the environment.
  2. We do not have our full winter assortments at the co-op yet - expect to see more variety of winter fabrics, including wool, as we transition into late fall and early winter!

Hope this helps!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

just one more thing to worry about, to be aware of.  All my sweaters are fleece or some sort of poly fibers, I guess it's good I don't wash them very much anyway.

We all drink water and rely on municipalities to do whatever it takes to make it clean and safe.  With the way things are going, one would think that a certain segment of population DOES NOT drink water! 

Looking at Michigan cities and what's happening there, makes me wonder if were not all doomed (sign).  The last thing we need is a roll back of clean water/clean air regulations.  The oceans seem doomed, what with the newly announced temperature rises and increasing acidity. Plastic, oil pollution, flesh eating bacteria, red algae, dead zones, eradication of species, great time to be alive!

Makes me long for the good old days when my only worries were giardia and Cryptosporidium! At least I can buy a filter for that at REI!

REI Member Since 1979

Hi @drodum ,

There are also some great products available to catch the synthetic fibers in your washing machine! That way when the items in question need a wash, you don’t have to worry. One example is the Guppyfriend Washing Bag from LANGBRETT (Also listed in the Microfibers: What We Know So Far Expert Advice Article). It can be really difficult to avoid synthetics all together! Especially when we already own these items and want to get the most use out of them before recycling. I love that we have technologies like this to help reduce the pollutants that are released during the wash cycle!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

I would also like to give a shout out to Guppyfriend. I use one of these at home and have given them to family members. I would very much like to see REI be more up front about acknowledging this rather colossal issue. Sell these products at stores next to fleece items and on the website! 



Good Point. REI and other outdoor manufacturers are still making polyester fleece clothing.