IGPN - International Green Purchasing Network


News

Archives

2017
01   02   03  
2016
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12  
2015
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12  
2014
01   02   03   06   07   08   09   10   11   12  
2013
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11  
2012
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12  
2011
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12  
2010
01   02   03   04   05   07   08   09   10   11   12  
2009
01   02   03   05   06   07   08   10   11   12  
2008
01   03   04   07   08   09   10   11   12  
2007
02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10  
2006
02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12  
2005
06   07   09   10   11  

Categories

Microfibers are polluting our food chain. This laundry bag can stop that

February 12, 2017

Microfibers are polluting our food chain. This laundry bag can stop that

Mary Catherine O'Connor
Sunday 12 February 2017 15.00 GMT

For the past three years, Alexander Nolte and Oliver Spies, surfing buddies and co-owners of Langbrett, a German retailer with four stores that sells surf gear and outdoor apparel, have been haunted by news reports connecting many of the products they sell to an emerging but serious environmental threat: microfiber pollution. Synthetic textiles, such as fleece jackets, send tiny plastic fibers into wastewater after washing. These bits eventually make their way into rivers, lakes and our oceans, where they pose health threats to plants and animals. The two men knew they had to act.

“We said, ‘either we have to stop selling fleece [apparel] or we have to think of a solution’,” explains Nolte. “So we went out to our beer garden and said ‘what can we do?’”

The beer-filled brainstorming session eventually led to Guppy Friend, a mesh laundry bag, that goes into the washing machine. The bag captures shedding fibers as clothes are tossed and spun, preventing the fibers from escaping. It’s roomy enough for a couple of fleece jackets or other apparel made of synthetic fabric. In two weeks, Langbrett, in partnership with outdoor clothing company Patagonia, will start shipping the Guppy Friend to the backers of their Kickstarter campaign. Patagonia will then begin selling the bag to customers.

The Guppy Friend is the first device designed and marketed specifically to prevent microfiber pollution. Microfibers are tiny, so they can easily move through sewage treatment plants. Natural fibers, such as cotton or wool, biodegrade over time. But synthetic fibers are problematic because they do not biodegrade, and tend to bind with molecules of harmful chemical pollutants found in wastewater, such as pesticides or flame retardants. Plus, fibers from apparel are often coated with chemicals to achieve performance attributes such as water resistance. Studies have shown health problems among plankton and other small organisms that eat microfibers, which then make their way up the food chain. Researchers have found high numbers of fibers inside fish and shellfish sold at markets.

Read more at The Guardian.

category : Topics


Focus on

Information

IGPN Events