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Article

Consumers’ Perceptions and Attitudes toward Products Preventing Microfiber Pollution in Aquatic Environments as a Result of the Domestic Washing of Synthetic Clothes

1
Department of Product Development, Faculty of Design Sciences, University of Antwerp, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
2
Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Antwerp, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2244; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062244
Received: 30 January 2020 / Revised: 10 March 2020 / Accepted: 11 March 2020 / Published: 13 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Clothing Consumption: Circular Use of Apparel)
Microfibers released by synthetic clothes have a significant negative effect on the environment. Several solutions have been proposed and evaluated for their effectiveness, but studies have failed to address the human-centered aspects of these products. In this research, the possibilities and needs from a consumer perspective for a new filtering system for domestic washing machines were examined. First, a quantitative (questionnaire) and a qualitative (interviews and observations) exploration were done to understand the desired requirements from a user perspective. Next, the acceptance of various existing solutions for microfiber catching was investigated. To verify these requirements, a new concept was designed and evaluated with a questionnaire. The results were analyzed using descriptive statistics. It can be concluded that the problem of microfibers is not well known, and the impact of people’s washing behavior is underestimated. Since microfibers are almost invisible, the effectiveness needed to be proven. Effectiveness is seen as the most important characteristic of a product that captures microfibers, followed by durability. Both factors ensure long-term usage. However, changing washing habits is not evident, and usage should be straightforward and user-friendly to save time, especially considering the new cleaning actions, which should be clear and unambiguous. View Full-Text
Keywords: microfibers; plastic pollution; laundry and maintenance; awareness; microfiber filter; consumer perception microfibers; plastic pollution; laundry and maintenance; awareness; microfiber filter; consumer perception
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MDPI and ACS Style

Herweyers, L.; Catarci Carteny, C.; Scheelen, L.; Watts, R.; Du Bois, E. Consumers’ Perceptions and Attitudes toward Products Preventing Microfiber Pollution in Aquatic Environments as a Result of the Domestic Washing of Synthetic Clothes. Sustainability 2020, 12, 2244. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062244

AMA Style

Herweyers L, Catarci Carteny C, Scheelen L, Watts R, Du Bois E. Consumers’ Perceptions and Attitudes toward Products Preventing Microfiber Pollution in Aquatic Environments as a Result of the Domestic Washing of Synthetic Clothes. Sustainability. 2020; 12(6):2244. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062244

Chicago/Turabian Style

Herweyers, Laure, Camilla Catarci Carteny, Linda Scheelen, Regan Watts, and Els Du Bois. 2020. "Consumers’ Perceptions and Attitudes toward Products Preventing Microfiber Pollution in Aquatic Environments as a Result of the Domestic Washing of Synthetic Clothes" Sustainability 12, no. 6: 2244. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062244

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