Crude oil is the raw material behind synthetic fibres. This is mined from beneath the ground or sea and is a non-renewable resource. This means when it runs out we can’t make any more.

Synthetic fibres can be turned into fabric for clothes. Polyester, acrylic and nylon are the main types of plastic that are used for fabric. Long strands of fibres are extruded (formed in long tubes) through a chemical process in a factory. They are waterproof and very long lasting. They break into tiny pieces called microplastics. It is thought these tiny pieces of plastic clothes will stay around for hundreds (or maybe even thousands) of years.

Microplastics have been found everywhere on earth, even up Mount Everest!