MICROFIBER CATCHMENTS

Microfiber catchment technologies effectively trap harmful, micro-plastic particles before they can travel to rivers, lakes and oceans. 

TARGET USERS: Individuals, Businesses, Industry, Government

KEY CONSIDERATIONS: While water treatment systems that remove micro-plastics are currently marketed toward consumers for residential use, government institutions could enact policies to encourage their adoption on an industrial scale.

    MORE INFORMATION: See more on microplastics.


    Collections: BEST PRACTICES, COLLECTION

     

    THE PROBLEM

    Synthetic materials used in clothes such as polyester, acrylic and nylon represent approximately 60% of clothing material worldwide. When washed, these materials shed tiny fibres that go down the drain with wastewater. Wastewater treatment plants receive large amounts of these microfibers daily and while most are removed, a significant amount is still released into the local environment. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reports that plastic particles washed off of products, such as synthetic clothes, represent 35% of the plastic polluting our oceans. These have also been found in marine species directly consumed by humans, the effects of which are unknown. Furthermore, plastic microfibers were found in 83% of samples taken from 159 tap water samples from cities in more than a dozen nations on five continents.

    Source: Plastic pollution solutions: emerging technologies to prevent and collect marine plastic pollution, and Parley

     

    THE SOLUTION

    Microfiber catchment technologies reduce the number of microfibers in washing machine wastewater by up to 90 percent. In addition to featuring these technologies in municipal wastewater treatment facilities, cities can provide subsidies, tax incentives, or rebates to businesses and individuals to encourage the use of microfiber catchment technologies at home and work. Such financial incentives could also be used to scale-up filtration efforts into larger systems that could be adopted for industrial use.

      

    CASE STUDY EXAMPLES

    Planetcare

    PlanetCare filters are specifically designed to catch the fibres that shed from textiles and clothes during washing and drying cycles. The thickness and length of shed fibres primarily depend on the structure and composition of the textile, but also on the washing/drying conditions (e.g. machine used, program, temperature, detergent, load, etc.)  The central part of the system is microfiltration of water based on electrically charged fibres and membrane nano-technology with a self-cleaning function. Visit https://www.planetcare.org/en/ for more information.

     

    The Cora Ball

    Inspired by the way coral filters the ocean, the Cora Ball prevents microfibers from breaking off clothes and collects them into visible fuzz that we can see and dispose of properly. 

     

    Lint LUV-R

    Lint LUV-R is an external filter system that removes lint and micro-plastics from washing machine discharge. It was originally developed in Canada to protect septic tanks. 

     

    Guppyfriend 

    Washing bag from Langbrett. The profits from the sale of the Guppyfriend Washing Bag go to STOP! Micro Waste and the STOP! Plastic Academy to raise awareness about (micro)plastic pollution and to educate students, adults and industry partners about the problem.

     

    Filtrol 160

    Washing machine filter, designed to keep non-biodegradeable fibers from entering your plumbing system. Filters last 1-2 years depending on use and frequency of cleaning. 

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