Addressing the Challenge of Microfibres - from Source of Production to Environmental Contamination

Posted on Posted on 25 Sep 2020

The UK Microplastics Network and UK Circular Plastics Network are pleased to host this online event.

UKCPN and the UK Microplastics Network will be hosting this online event on 17th December 2020 at 10:00. Register here.


Microfibres are an issue of growing concern given their ubiquitous and persistent nature. Synthetic fibres and filaments often make the most durable and technical materials, and as such are widely manufactured and used for a variety of purposes. However, these materials shed fibres throughout their lifetime which can become easily and widely dispersed. The majority of focus on microfibres to date has considered synthetic microfibres from polymeric (plastic-based) textiles. However, it is increasingly recognised that a wide range of anthropogenic fibres including modified cellulose and dyed natural textiles such as cotton are also widespread throughout the environment, with unknown consequences for human and animal health. Due to their common manufacture, different characteristics and multitude of applications, microfibres pose a huge multidisciplinary challenge with respect to preventing or reducing their release and understanding any associated hazards they may pose.

The workshop:
This workshop will bring together the key players working to address the microfibre issue across industry, academia and policy to discuss the current research, challenges and solutions. The workshop will combine presentations and discussion sessions to discuss solutions and collaborative approaches to progress this field. 


The UK Microplastics Network sits within the UK Circular Plastic network and is a multidisciplinary cross-sector knowledge-sharing network, aiming to discuss and tackle the challenges of microplastics from research through to regulation, industry and innovation.



10:00  Welcome to NOC and introduction Dr. Alice Horton, National Oceanography Centre

10:10  Introduction to UKCPN Dr. Sally Beken, UKCPN (Knowledge Transfer Network)



10:25  Plastic Microfibres: The Journey from Washing Our Clothes to the Ocean

Dr. Imogen Napper, University of Plymouth

10:40  Microfibres in soil: effects on earthworms and their potential toxicity

Dr. Miranda Prendergast-Miller, Northumbria University

10:55  Synthetic vs. Natural microfibres – which should we be worried about?

Dr. Richard Blackburn, University of Leeds

11:10  Coffee break

11:30  Questions to the speakers/panel discussion

12:00   Round table discussions 

12:45  Lunch



13:30  Reducing Microplastic Fiber Emissions to Waterways: From Textiles to Water Treatment Technologies

Dr. Denise Mitrano, Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology)

13:45  ‘Laundry microfibre research: identifying near-term improvements en-route to a longer-term solution’

Dr. Neil Lant, Procter and Gamble

14:00  The Microfibre Consortium

Sophie Mather, The Microfibre Consortium

14:15  Questions to the speakers/panel discussion

14:45  Coffee break

15:00  Round table discussions

15:45  Wrap up and final thoughts

16:00  Close

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