PlanetCare filters are a solution for removing plastic microfibers from washing machine waste water.
TARGET USERS: Individuals, Industry, Government
COSTS: €35-€50 per filter unit; filter must be cleaned after 30 loads of laundry.
KEY CONSIDERATIONS: Planetcare filters collects between 60-80% of microfibers per wash.
MORE INFORMATION: https://www.planetcare.org
Synthetic materials used in clothes such as polyester, acrylic and nylon represent about approximately 60% of clothing material worldwide. When washed, these clothing materials shed tiny fibers, called microplastics, that go down the drain with waste water, and can contaminate waterways. Microplastic contamination of the oceans is one of the world’s most pressing environmental concerns. 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.
See https://portals.iucn.org/library/sites/library/files/documents/2017-002.pdf for more information.
PlanetCare filters are designed to catch fibers that shed from textiles and clothes during washing and drying cycles. The thickness and the length of shed fibers primarily depend on the structure and composition of the textile but also on washing /drying conditions (e.g. machine used, program, temperature, detergent, load etc.) In general, fibers have thicknesses of 10 micrometers or more and a very broad range of lengths.
The PlanetCare filter, a simple, yet efficient solution, removes microfibers from washing machine waste water. The central part of the system is microfiltration of water based on electrically charged fibers and membrane nano-technology with a self-cleaning function.
PlanetCare developed a state-of-the-art microfibre filter designed to be built into washing machines by appliance producers. The filter has been successfully tested and we are in discussion with several interested producers.
An inexpensive filter can be added onto your existing washing machine, with two options:
- an external filtering unit
- a filter that replaces the existing drain pump filter so that it catches microfibers
PlanetCare industrial filters function as a separate external unit for facilities that use with large laundry facilities, such as hospitals, hotels, marinas or similar. Each filter can accommodate up to 10 washing machines. It is a relevant and impactful solution that is also suitable in fashion/textile industry or for waste water treatment facilities.
There are a number of competing solutions that address microfiber releases from laundry, including:
The test showed a fiber emission reduction between 60 and 80% and decreasing emissions when a single filter was used. Cumulative quantities were collected on a 1,6 micrometer filter).
CNR IPCB, Pozzuoli, Italy test
The test used a filter cascade for filtering released fibers (400, 60 and 20 micrometer). The filter captured 64% of fibers (absolute) or 74% relative vs. reference.
Unnamed appliance manufacturer
The test was performed on a smaller sample (100 mL) by counting fibers. The result indicated an 80% retention of fibers. The results show that PlanetCare filters consistently remove fibers in a range between 60% and 80% of fibers.
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