How the planetcare microfibre filter stops plastic pollution in your laundry.
On my hunt for sustainable products and brands, I couldn’t go past the impact our clothes have on the environment. No, I am actually not talking about using dyes and bad labor conditions for the workers that make our clothes but simply just doing your load of laundry.
Related: Is Bamboo Fabric Sustainable?
We all know that fast fashion is not a sustainable method. If you want to check your favorite brand’s ecological impact, punch it into the goodonyou app and learn more or get alternatives.
When I learned about the fashion industry and how these tiny microfibers break off of our clothes and pollute the oceans I felt paralyzed. Yet another thing we humans do that has a negative environmental impact.
The damage is done when synthetic clothes shed their fibers. Since natural materials don’t harm wildlife when ingested.
I was shocked to learn that there are only a few solutions to the problem.
Then I came across Xeros Technology which has, in my opinion, the best solution, by installing filters directly into new washing machines. This means we as consumers don’t have to add another task to our busy lives. However, they are not available as of writing this article.
So here is a company that is actually creating a solution that works.
Planetcare a Slovenian start-up by Mojca Zupan has created the first external filter to collect 90% of the plastic microfibers before they can even find their way into the ocean.
Did I read ocean?
Yes, you read correctly there is a huge problem created by our domestic washing machines that contribute to ever-growing microfibre pollution.
What is the problem? Shouldn’t this be the responsibility of the washing machine producers?
Did you know that every time you run a wash cycle tiny plastic particles are being released into the water systems? This happens because modern clothes are made from 80% synthetic materials.
Every time you wash your clothes up to 700.000 fibers are being released into the environment. This may not be a problem you might think, because the wastewater treatment plants will surely filter all the crap out before they pump the water back into the ocean, right? Wrong.
These plastic fibres are so small that you can’t see them with the naked eye and they simply escape the filtration system and head towards the ocean.
Here they cause an even bigger threat that was just recently discovered. It is not the synthetic fiber itself that is harmful to marine life and the apex predator (us) but the chemicals that create the bonds for synthetic fibers. They act like sponges and become more toxic over time latching onto more chemicals. These tiny fibers that are floating around in the sea are then being eaten by the smallest shrimp to the biggest fish moving up the food chain and eventually get eaten by us. This can be devastating to human health and can cause long-lasting illness.
You would hope that the big producers like Siemens and Bosch, just to name a few are working on the development of a filter. But are they even aware of the health risks of microfiber ingestion?
Planetcare for the help.
Since the big companies aren’t doing enough to come up with sustainable solutions, people like you and me do. Well, in this case, the team behind planetcare. All you have to do is buy their filter and install it on your machine. The microfiber is then collected and send back to them.
How to install the PlanetCare Microfiber Filter?
Planetcare developed a replaceable filter that collects 90% of microfibres. The initial setup is pretty straightforward.
- Find your water outlet hose.
- Disconnect it from the sink or drain.
- Attach the filter to the outside of your washing machine with the delivered holder.
- Reconnect your drain hose and continue with the hose supplied into your sink or drain.
All you have to do is install it externally on your laundry machine.
After 15-20 wash cycles, you replace the cartridge and put a fresh one in your filter system.
Once you have a selection of dirty filter cartridges, simply put them back in the box provided and send them back to planetcare for collection and cleaning.
If you have subscribed you will receive a new box in time for you to keep washing.
What happens to the used filters?
Once you have sent your used cartridges back to planetcare in the prepaid box. the company will remove the microfibers, clean the cartridges and refurbish them for reuse. This is what they call the ‘A fully circular, closed-loop solution’. They reuse 95% of the cartridges and recycle 5%.
What does Planetcare do with the microfibers?
At the moment Planetcare is collecting the fibers and safely storing them in their facility. As of writing this article they brainstorming ideas on how to use the fibers. One solution could be to make insulation mats for washing machines. However, they are continuously researching and looking for new viable options. Incineration or landfilling is not acceptable.
How much does it cost?
There are a couple of options to choose from:
Mini Starter Kit with 3 Cartridges costs $90 CAD, then you want to order refill cartridges.
For $82 CAD you will get 6 cartridges that each last up to 20 washes.
Tips to reduce microfiber release from your garments
- Wash your clothes less often.
- This may sound strange but you don;t really need to wash your clothes after just one wear.
So far this seems to be a good solution to an evergrowing pollution problem. Sure sending dirty microfiber filter cartridges around the globe has its own footprint. But at least the tiny fibers don’t end up in our ocean and harm wildlife and even us in the end.
I’d love to hear your opinion on the subject. Do you think it is silly to send the dirty filters back? Would you install one and become part of their subscription scheme?
Let me know what you think and if you like this kind of content you may want to opt into my newsletter for more handy tips.