Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Blue Standard?

The Blue Standard is a campaign to reduce microfiber pollution through a three-prong approach targeting individual action, industry action, and legislative action. The campaign is currently based in Colorado, with the hope of eventually spreading enough awareness to bring forth solutions at a national and international scale.

What is a microfiber?

Microfibers are a subcategory of microplastics. A microfiber is a plastic fiber that is < 5 mm in size (roughly the size of a sesame seed in length).

Where do microfibers come from?

Microfibers come from two sources. The first source is microfibers that are released when synthetic garments are produced or washed by consumers. The second source of microfibers is microfibers that are released when synthetic clothing is discarded by the consumer.

What is a synthetic fabric?

Synthetic fabrics are created from the process of spinning plastic threads into fabric. Common synthetic fabrics include polyester, acrylic, and nylon.

Wait, is plastic made from fossil fuels?

Yes, plastics are produced from fossil fuels. After oil is extracted, it undergoes a chemical process called polymerization where the oil molecules are formed into polymers, creating plastic.

Why are microfibers bad?

Microplastics have become ubiquitous to our environment. Studies have detected microplastic in water, food, and even the air. Consumption of microplastics poses several serious physical and chemical health threats to humans and wildlife.

I live in an inland state far away from the ocean, how does this affect me?

While plastic pollution is often portrayed as an ocean issue, that is not the whole story. Plastic pollution is a water issue, affecting all bodies of water regardless of their geographical location. In inland states, such as Colorado, microfibers are released into inland waterways when synthetic clothing is washed by consumers, eventually concentrating in inland creeks, rivers, and lakes.

Why are microfibers not removed by wastewater treatment plants?

The majority of wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) in the United States are not equipped with the technology needed to remove microplastics from wastewater; therefore, microfibers often flow freely through WWTP into the watershed.

What can I do to stop microfiber pollution?

Here are five ways to get started on an individual scale:

  1.  Avoid purchasing synthetic fabrics, when possible, by choosing natural fabrics such as cotton, tencel, and linen.
  2.  Use a microfiber filter.
  3.  Take care of your clothing by washing full loads on cold.
  4.  If necessary, choose recycled synthetic fabrics.
  5.  Educate and spread awareness on the issue of microfiber pollution!