The Microfibre Consortium (TMC) has provided an update on its fibre fragmentation test programme. Working in collaboration across its membership, including brands, retailers, suppliers and research organisations, TMC has now tested in excess of 200 materials and yarns, all underpinned by detailed fabric specifications. The information will form part of a new fibre fragmentation database and a pilot of that will be rolled out to consortium members this year. The update has been released alongside news that Trudy Watson will join the consortium as a technical specialist. Trudy has been supporting TMC as a consultant during 2020 and will now join the team on a permanent basis.
In November 2019, TMC and University of Leeds (UoL) unveiled the world’s first thoroughly tested, validated and internationally aligned method for measuring microfibre material loss from textiles, and outlined plans for developing a comprehensive fibre fragmentation database. Work on a pilot has been underway throughout 2020 and among the 200+ materials and yarns tested are ~70 knit fabrics,~50 woven fabrics and ~15 laminated fabrics, ranging in fabric weight from18g/m2 to 455g/m2. This significant progress has been possible thanks to material and yarn samples that have been provided by TMC brand, retail and supplier members, including 33 global vendors. Test results that are informing the pilot database are derived from strategic internal testing with TMC research member UoL, members’ own in house testing, supplier testing, and, more recently, data on TMC member fabrics that has been provided by invited third party laboratories.
The project is being led by Trudy Watson, who will join The Microfibre Consortium as technical specialist in December. Trudy will be based in the UK and will continue to build the fibre fragmentation database with support from across the TMC network, including the TMC Board, and the consortium’s growing number of members and partner organisations.
Phil Patterson, managing director of textile consultancy Colour Connections and chair of the TMC Board, comments: “The Microfibre Consortium is committed to helping the textile industry reduce fibre fragmentation and discharge into the environment. This recent scaling of testing across over 200 strategic fabrics and yarn samples, underpinned by detailed technical specifications, is a pioneering step forwards in the final development stages of an industry-first fibre fragmentation database which will be beta tested with key TMC members before the end of 2020.
“Pragmatic recommendations for the industry must be based on credible scientific evidence and the launch of the fibre fragmentation database will enable TMC members at the brand, retail, supplier and research level to work from one centralised platform. This is a key landmark in the understanding of the relative significance of different fibres, yarns and fabric constructions on the generation of fibre fragments. The painstaking development of standardised assessment methodologies, together with the scaling of testing by TMC research, brand and supplier members, is another step closer to supporting the construction of inherently lower impact fabrics.”
Trudy Watson adds: “Driven by a curiosity to learn, understand, find solutions and implement change, I am thrilled to join The Microfibre Consortium and contribute to reducing fibre fragmentation and its environmental impact.”
TMC plans to share more information about the fibre fragmentation project and database in the lead up to and during the online Fibre Fragmentation Summit that it is hosting in partnership with Planet Textiles, from 23-26 March 2021. For more details about the event and to book a place, visit https://www.microfibreconsortium.com/summit.
Following the formation and management of The Outdoor Microfibre Consortium by the European Outdoor Group in 2017, The Microfibre Consortium (TMC) was founded as a stand-alone organisation in November 2018, reflecting the increasing importance of the topic and broadening membership of the consortium. TMC facilitates the collaborative development of practical solutions for the textile industry to minimise microfibre release to the environment from textile manufacturing and product life cycle. The consortium now has a membership that incorporates a diverse range of outdoor, fashion, sport and home textiles, brands, retailers and suppliers. The work of TMC is managed by a UK based team that is led by managing director Sophie Mather, which includes representatives from across the global textile industry. The full list of TMC members can be found at www.microfibreconsortium.com/members.