Helping to End Plastic Soup

Did you know that every time you use your washing machine, thousands of microplastic fibres too small to be caught by its filters flow into the sewage system and eventually into the ocean?

Or that these tiny particles, shed from synthetic clothes when laundered, are readily ingested by aquatic life, filling up their stomachs which can eventually lead to death?

With fish, crab, shrimp and birds all having been recorded as ingesting microfibres, it’s also known that they’re ending up in the food we eat, although the long-term effects of this are yet to be made clear…

According to the End Plastic Soup campaign action pack published by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, over 36 billion loads of clothes are washed across Europe every year. And, depending on the type of fabric those clothes are made from, the numbers of microplastic fibres released from a single load of washing are nothing short of mind-boggling :

  • 137,951 fibres released from polyester-cotton blend
  • 496,030 fibres released from polyester fabric
  • 728,789 fibres released from acrylic fabric

The End Plastic Soup campaign isn’t asking for synthetic clothing to be banned but calls on the government and industry to research and develop innovative solutions to the problem. It also offers a list of simple ways in which everyone can help make a difference by taking action at home, based on the EU Mermaids Ocean Clean Wash research project…

  • Wash less: Only wash clothes when they need it. Items that are not worn close to the skin often do not need washing after just one wear – this will also prolong the life of your clothes.
  • Fill up your washing machine to the max: Washing a full load results in less friction between the clothes and so less fibres are released.
  • Use liquid detergent rather than powder: The ‘scrub’ action of the powder grains loosens fibres more than liquid.
  • Wash at low temperature; When clothes are washed at high temperature some fabrics are damaged, resulting in the release of fibres.
  • Cleaning the dryer: Do not flush the lint down the drain, throw it in the bin.
  • Avoid long washing cycles: Long periods of washing cause more friction between fabrics, which can result in more tearing of the fibres
  • Detergent: Avoid using detergents with a high pH level and oxidising agents

Find out more about the scale of ocean plastic waste and how it’s entering the food chain in this Sky documentary…

50 shades of Graham


the battle of the sexes

As a showbiz journalist for more than 30 years, he did around 4,000 interviews with countless stars of stage and screen. But this weekend the shoe is on the other foot for Graham Keal, when he’ll be the one answering the questions instead of asking them…

Graham joins the Girls Around Town in the studio to share a few of the highlights from his encounters with a veritable A to Z of celebrities.  Why was Sir David Attenborough making eyes at him? What made Jimmy Tarbuck such a pain? And just why did Oprah touch his elbow?

Now a popular speaker at WI meetings, ladies luncheon clubs and other gatherings across the UK, Graham recently launched his latest talk. Admittedly it’s ‘a bit more risqué’ than his others but 50 Shades of Graham is nothing to frighten the easily shocked, he says.

“I’d already amassed a lot of material on how so much of the humour to be found on the web revolves around the battle of the sexes. Now I’ve just adapted that material, adding some musings and observations on what has made both the Fifty Shades books and the film so huge, despite all the critical brickbats flung at them.”

Tune in or listen online between 10am and 12 noon on Sunday when Graham gives June, Tina and Sue the inside track on some of the ‘men are from Mars, women are from Venus’ moments that kept the ladies of Norwell WI entertained earlier this month…

Fashion across the ages


It’s all about fashion on the show this week, as the Girls Around Town welcome John Knight back to the studio…

The proprietor of Vintage2Versace, John is the undisputed font of all knowledge when it comes to the history of fashion.

He regularly shares his expertise in his History of Fashion Roadshow, an informative and entertaining 45-minute talk which proves hugely popular with women’s groups in Newark and beyond.

The talks are illustrated by models wearing authentic outfits ranging from Victorian times to the present day. Unfortunately not an option for a radio show, of course, but John will be passing on some of the highlights of his specialist subject when he chats to June and Tina on Sunday morning.

Tune in or listen online between 10am and 12 noon – and if what you hear whets your appetite for more, there’ll be news of the next roadshow too.

On Thursday 26 May, the meeting of the Newark Castle Group of WIs will feature John’s talk and catwalk show of vintage fashion. Starting at 7pm at the Salvation Army Centre, Mead Way, Balderton NG24 3GA, the meeting’s open to non-members and tickets are £4 each, including refreshments.

Book yours by calling 01636 679528 or email and then just pay on the door – chances are you’ll spot one or more of the Girls Around Town in the audience too!