Synthetic fabrics, a staple of the outdoor apparel industry, are ending up in oceans in the form of microplastics. Invisible to the the human eye, microplastics are tiny plastic fibers that shed from synthetic materials when cycling through the washing machine.Because of their size, microplastics are extremely difficult to filter out at wastewater treatment plants. In short, every time synthetic clothes are machine washed, microplastics are released into the water stream–polluting rivers and oceans across the globe. Often mistaken as food by fish, these long plastic fibers will wrap around fish’s internal organs and suffocate them, or will sometimes later make their way into the larger food chain. In 2011, ecologist Mark Browne released a groundbreaking study on the issue; he found that microfiber pollution had increased by 450% since the 1960s. When he contacted leading outdoor retailers such as Nike, Patagonia, and Polartec, to seek help researching the topic, no one agreed. Yet as more research comes to light, outdoor retailers are being forced to face the issue. In 2015, Patagonia commissioned University of California Santa Barbara to conduct a research project on the famed Patagonia fleece and its unfortunate capability to shed microplastics.Research found that a single fleece jacket sheds 250,000 synthetic fibers during a machine wash. Outside Magazine calculates that based on “an estimate of consumers across the world laundering 100,000 Patagonia jackets each year, the amount of fibers being released into public waterways is equivalent to the amount of plastic in up to 11,900 grocery bags.” The study also found that top loading washing machines loose five times more fibers than front loaders and that old jackets shed more than new ones. The outdoor industry is beginning to respond to microplastic pollution. Beyond commissioning the fleece research project, Patagonia has been working with Tersus Solutions, an innovative Colorado company, to create a washing machine that washes clothes with carbon dioxide instead of water.What to do while the outdoor industry catches up? Opt for clothing made of natural fibers and wash synthetics by hand.
Spring is in the air! Along with spring-cleaning our closets and homes, it’s also important to take a look at that pile of papers gathering dust in the kitchen drawer or your home office. Are you holding on to financial documents that can be shredded, or should you continue to (carefully) keep those records on hand? Here are four types of financial documents and tips for whether to keep them or shred them.Credit card statements: ATM or deposit receipts can be tossed after the transaction is recorded, but credit card statements should be kept until a payment is made and appears on the next statement. Receipts for anything purchased on your credit card should also be kept until the statement arrives so you can confirm you were charged the appropriate amount.Student loans: When you originally took out your student loan you were given a master promissory note. This document shows how you promised to pay your loan and any accrued interest and it should be kept securely until your loan is completely paid off.Mortgage/Lease: Because many mortgage lenders now allow for electronic payments, most documents associated with your home will be available anytime on their webpage. If you are leasing your residence, transaction histories may not be available online, so hold on to your lease and any record of rent payments made. That way if there is a dispute with your landlord, you will have the necessary detailed documents handy.Car and health insurance: Many insurance companies will send policies via email or will allow you to create an account on their website and access your secure documents at your convenience. If this is the case there is no need to keep any paper copies that are mailed to you. If there isn’t an electronic copy, file away your policy information until the next year when the new plan information arrives. Life insurance policies are an exception and should be filed away forever. 85SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Wendy Moody Wendy Moody is a Senior Editor with CUInsight.com. Wendy works with the editorial team to help edit the content including current news, press releases, jobs and events. She keeps … Web: www.cuinsight.com Details