UK public concerned about microplastic pollution, polls find

People in the UK are worried about the growing problem of microplastic pollution and believe action needs to be taken, according to polls conducted by British washing machine filter companies Xeros Technology and Matter.

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The first poll, commissioned by Xeros Technology, found that 80% of people in the UK are concerned about the impact of microplastics on the environment and human health. Sixty percent said they do not feel the UK government is doing enough to tackle plastic pollution, including microplastics.

A separate poll, commissioned by Matter, found that 78% believe microfibre filters should be made mandatory on all new washing machines sold in the UK, and 58% would be willing to pay more for a washing machine that comes with a microfibre filter.

The opinion polls were conducted ahead of the launch of a whitepaper challenging the UK government to do more to tackle microplastic pollution by mandating for filters in all new washing machines.

The whitepaper, co-authored by A Plastic Planet, Matter, PlanetCare, Xeros Technology, and the 5 Gyres Institute, will be presented to politicians at an event hosted by Matter in the House of Lords in March.

It is estimated that UK laundry alone generates an average of 17,234 tonnes of microfibres each year, weighing the equivalent of around 1,500 double-decker buses. This figure is set to rise alongside the escalating demand for fast fashion.

The Xeros poll also revealed that 60% of British people are unaware of the fact that microplastics shed from clothes during washing.

“The British public could not be clearer. People are extremely worried about what plastic is doing to our health and the world around us. Fortunately, we have at our fingertips many of the solutions we need to tackle this crisis decisively,” Sian Sutherland, co-founder of A Plastic Planet.