PlanetCare makes a washing machine filter that prevents microfibers from reaching the environment. These tiny plastic particles pose a huge threat to marine life, which in turn affects the human food chain.
Micropalstics are smaller than 5mm and are essentially fragments of larger pieces of plastic that have worn down. Fish and other marine animals mistake these bits for food and consume them. These will eventually hinder the natural functioning of the animal, leading to imminent death.
When we wash our clothing, microfibers fall away and eventually land up in the environment. According to the Plastic Soup Foundation, for every 5kgs of washing around 600 000- 17 000 000 microfibers fall away.
According to CNN, around half a million metric tonnes of microfibers reach the ocean annually. PlanetCare, a Slovenian startup, has designed a filter to catch fibers in washing machines.
Speaking to CNN, PlanetCare’s chief scientist, Andrej Kržan said: “Our approach is based on the fact that it is better to stop pollution at the source, which is the washing machine. At that point we have fibers not mixed with organic matter and other things, but in a relatively clean stream of water.
Once you get fibers in the environment, I cant imagine any way to get them back.”
The filter attaches to the outside of the washing machine or on a nearby wall. One part of the filter is fixed to the outlet pipe of the washing machine and the other end, to the machines drain pipe. It reportedly catches 90% of fibres and the cartridge of the filter should be chanced monthly.
Image: PlanetCare website