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Seòmar agus comataidhean

Question ref. S6W-07238
Asked by: Siobhian Brown, Ayr, Scottish National Party
Date lodged: 11 March 2022


To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the recommendation by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Microplastics in September 2021 for all new domestic and commercial washing machines to be fitted with a microfibre filter to catch microplastics, and a Private Members' Bill being introduced in the House of Commons to give effect to this recommendation in England and Wales, what the Scottish Government's position is on introducing similar legislation in Scotland, and what action it is taking to stop microplastics from polluting the environment.

Current status: Answered by Mairi McAllan on 25 March 2022


Microfibre shedding from synthetic textiles is a complex problem which adds to microplastic pollution in our environment. Fibres are shed at every stage of the product’s lifespan, from manufacture, through use, laundering and end of life.

Considerable research is being undertaken by industry to better understand this problem. Filters on washing machines will not necessarily reduce this form of pollution as it requires users to clean the filters. As a result the collected material ends up in landfill or washed down sinks, as evidenced through people emptying tumble dryer filters.

We will take an evidence-based approach on this issue, and are taking action on other forms of microplastic pollution, with a ban on microbeads in rinse-off personal care products, and significant ongoing work with the plastics industry to tackle plastic pellet pollution. We are able to take action on matters relating to environmental protection, and while trade and industry are reserved to the UK Government we continue to work for progress in these areas.