Microfibres are prominent in the media these days – how they’re getting into our waterways and the food chain. When we wash synthetic garments, hundreds of thousands of microfibres make their way into the ocean.
Invisible to the naked eye, microfibres are tiny particles that measure less than five millimetres in size. During the washing cycle they shed from synthetic materials like nylon and polyester.
Scientists have detected these tiny plastic particles in ocean organisms across the food chain – from microscopic plankton to the fish we eat. Because of their size, microfibres can also pass through sewage treatment plants and into our water supply.
The GuppyFriend is part of our holistic solution to microfibres – to trap them at their source in your washing machine. But more needs to be done across the entire microfibres journey if we want to find a long term solution.
Care and Repair: Reducing microplastic waste with GuppyFriend
Extend the life of your gear and help protect our marine life
How your GuppyFriend works to trap microfibres
It’s difficult to control what happens to microfibres after we wash our synthetic textiles. The GuppyFriend gives you the option to wash responsibly and dispose of the synthetic microfibres the right way.
You can treat the GuppyFriend like a regular washing bag. Take the following simple steps:
Open your GuppyFriend and pop in your synthetic garments
Wash your gear as per the instructions on the tag
The main difference between the GuppyFriend Washing Bag and a standard wash bag is that the Guppy isn’t just extending the life of your gear – it’s also trapping microfibres as they wash off your clothing.
Depending on how often you wash, you’ll find an accumulation of microfibres in the upper corners of your Guppy Bag. Once the clusters are big enough for removal, simply chuck them in the bin.
Looking at the bigger picture
Despite their microscopic size, microfibres are a huge issue. The outdoor industry is determined to understand how we can best mitigate our own environmental impact.
It’s a long and complex process – we still need to better understand our role so we can implement the best long-term solution possible.
For instance, the Outdoor Industry Association Sustainability Working Group has a vision to create products that don’t cause harm. This may include working with textile manufacturers to develop new materials which shed less plastic.
After product development, it’s essential to look at the next stage of the journey. At the moment, the filters in washing machines and wastewater treatment plants are unable to capture 100% of microfibres. In the future, a multi-faceted solution might include:
Developing new materials
Designing smarter washing machines
Upgrading wastewater treatment plants
Our individual consumption also needs to radically change, as synthetic material is in high demand. A city the size of Berlin releases a wash-related volume of microfibres equivalent to around 500,000 plastic bags every day.
It’s pretty clear there’s no quick fix. Luckily, the GuppyFriend is a practical and effective short-term solution to reduce plastic pollution in our waterways right now.