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Q&A With Product Director Debbie On Microplastics

We’re always keeping our ears to the ground when it comes to running our business in the most sustainable way possible, from the materials we use in our products to how we serve our coffee in our stores.

Microplastics are our radar. Product Director Debbie tells us how Finisterre is getting to grips with the conversation around microplastics and why they pose a risk to the environment. 

What’s the difference between microbeads and microplastics?

Microbeads are more commonly found in pharmaceuticals - they are added to the product. An example is face washes and shower gels where they have been added to give the product texture. Microplastics are more often a by-product from textiles; they are small plastic particles that are barely recognisable to the eye - less than 1mm. They can come from lots of different sources, but the reason we're interested is because they can come from clothing.

Why are microplastics so harmful?

Both microbeads and microplastics have the same problem: plastics don’t break down – they do not biodegrade. Any plastic that goes into the ocean stays in the ocean, it’s as simple as that.

Which Finisterre products contain microplastics?

The worst offenders would be anything which has any kind of knitted or brushed finish, where the surface will easily come into contact with abrasion through washing and wearing. Whilst we do use a lot of recycled polyester and nylon in our jackets, we tend to use them in tightly woven fabrics which are deliberately designed to not rub and pill. The worst thing is fleece because it surface pills. We don’t tend to do anything that is a jersey or a fleece that is 100% polyester, we try to opt for natural fibres. If wool particles go in the sea, it’s fine as it biodegrades and that’s just one reason to champion natural fibres.

What are Finisterre doing to help avoid the environmental impact of microplastics?

When it comes to knitted products for us, wool is the answer over fleece. We use polyester throughout the range, but we opt where possible for regenerated nylon and polyester and are constantly looking to innovate with wool, from our knitwear to the insulation in our Commodus Parka with HD Wool. It's the most natural fibre and because it is totally biodegradable, it doesn't have the same environmental impact as microplastics. Learning more about micro plastics has definitely made us more conscious of using materials such as fleece; it's an educational process, and one we're going to be gaining knowledge and steering through over the next few years. We want to be as transparent and honest as possible about these environmental issues close to our hearts, so we can make a difference.

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