Not many people own a 100% organic wardrobe (cotton, hemp, linen). So if you wear and wash synthetic fibres (polyester, nylon, recycled plastics), then each time you wash your clothes, millions of microplastic fibres are breaking off in the machine, and eventually reaching the sea. This can harm marine wildlife, that often ‘filter feed’ (like whales, which open their giant mouths to eat krill along with the water and plastic) then spew out the remains through their blowhole.
So if you do wash synthetic fibres, it’s good to invest in a microfibre catch bag. It doesn’t catch all the fibres, but does help. It’s a bit fiddly to use, but once done, you can add it to the washing machine to try to catch (then dispose of) caught microplastics. Of course the bugbear to this is that at landfill, the caught microplastics can then sweep out to sea anyway if it starts raining and the trash starts moving. But it’s better than doing nothing. If you wear swimwear made from recycled plastic bottles, experts say it’s best to just rinse it if needed, and avoid washing unless absolutely necessary (to avoid microplastics breaking off, and helping the swimwear last longer).
Simple Microplastic Catch Devices
PlanetCare is the only fully circular, closed loop solution that can catch around 90% of microplastics, and is also developing a built-in filter.
Guppyfriend (Germany) is a bag that you use to catch the microplastics in the machine. Made from polyester, it lasts at least 50 washes and can be recycled at end of life. Independent tests have shown that it catches nearly all microplastics in the machine. Profits are used to help reduce plastic waste in our oceans. Made in Europe with multiple language instructions, it’s sold in plastic-free packaging.
Cora Ball (US) is the other option. Designed to last 5 years, this removes around a third of microplastics. Made from recycled materials, it tangles the microplastics into ‘fuzz balls’ that you can see and pick out. To clean, just grab the tangles and move the stalks to the side, to have them remove easily. The Cora Ball can be recycled at end of use.
A Lint Collector for the 21st Century
The Filtrol is a lint collector for the 21st century. Not only does it reduce microplastic pollution, but it also helps reduce clogged sewers. It’s sold in three versions: residential, light commercial and a bigger version for restaurants, resorts and laundromats.
Never donate collected lint from washing machines or dryers to birds to make nests, as it can create mould and choke baby birds. Dispose of securely in the bin (never donate human or pet hair, as this can also choke or strangle baby birds).