ONE OF THE MANY sources of microplastics is fiber from synthetic clothing. These microscopic pieces of plastic shed into the environment and into the wastewater system when the garments are laundered. Soft and cozy though it is, fleece is one of the fabrics contributing to the microplastic in the environment. Here is L.L. Bean spokeswoman Carolyn Beem’s full statement on what the company is doing to mitigate the problem:

“We at L.L.Bean are fully committed to protection of our environment and this issue is of great interest to us. We are aware of the growing concern regarding fibers ending up in the waterways and we take this very seriously. We are not alone in this; other retailers and manufacturers are also becoming increasingly aware of this issue, and collectively are taking steps to mitigate the issue.

“Because one of the biggest culprits in shedding is low quality materials, we only use high quality materials from the best suppliers for our fleece programs. We work closely with our fleece suppliers on improving their manufacturing process to reduce the amount of fiber that becomes detached from the garment during washing. This includes the development of advanced fiber technology that strengthens the fibers, which reduces shedding, as well as adding odor-control properties to these materials so they don’t need to be washed as often.

“We are making progress, but there is certainly more to be done. Rest assured, as a company that has a steadfast commitment to do what’s right by the environment, this will be an area of where we will continue to focus our attention and work diligently toward a solution.”

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