Novel filtering technology for washing machines to stop microfibres pollution
Industry: Eco Innovation
Microplastics are small (< 5mm) plastic particles which constitute a large part of plastic pollution. Although less visible to the eye, microplastics have been found to be dispersed in all environmental compartments and have a great ability to enter, influence and endanger natural food webs. The Environmental Investigation Agency estimated that a total of 15-51 trillion microplastic particles have accumulated in the ocean, with between 80,000 and 219,000 tonnes of microplastics enter the sea from Europe per year. Microplastic pollution caused by washing processes of synthetic textiles has recently been assessed as the main source of primary microplastics in the oceans. Standard washing machines do not include a microfiber filter and there isn’t on the market an effective solution to reduce fibre emissions PlanetCare has developed Fibrestop, the first built-in microfiber filter for washing machines. The device consists of a durable housing, a replaceable cartridge and an internal filter. Filtering is based on physical capture of fibres and no chemicals are used at any stage of the process. Each filter consists of 2-3 successive filtering stages with different average pore sizes, from larger to smaller in the direction of water flow. The cartridges can be returned to PlanetCare for recycling, ensuring a completely closed loop system and a circular business model. Having a retention rate verified by third parties testing, Fibrestop has to possibility to nullify the microplastic pollution derived from washes, generating tangible benefits for the environment and the people.