Ocean friendly Guppyfriend bags
Microplastic pollution commonly refers to plastics less than 5 mm in size and is becoming well known in oceans with strong links to laundering synthetic clothing. Presently, 70% of all textiles made is synthetic. Waste water treatment plants dispose of water into the ocean, restricting between 65 and 99% of all plastic microfibres. However, based on a very good filtration scenario capturing 98.4% of microfibres, Australia alone could be contributing the equivalent of 7,750 plastic grocery bags into oceans every week, in tiny particles just the right size to enter food chains, from our waste laundry water.
The pressure on our oceans from plastic pollution, industrial pollution and climate change is intense. Urgent action is needed to reduce our impact on our beautiful oceans so vital for all life on Earth.
Ocean Remedy's pilot studies into the ability of a washing bag to restrict microfibre pollution show that microfibres in laundry waste water can be reduced 83-90% by washing in an appropriate bag.
The laboratory tested and proven Guppyfriend laundry bag will be available in Australia soon. Laundering your garments in these bags protects your clothing and the marine environment. Pre-order your bag here.
To protect your garments and the environment:
- Place your swimwear in the bag and zip shut.
- Wash in cool water, ideally using liquid laundry detergent, in a front load washing machine. The bags will work in a top load washer, but it should be known front-load washers shorten the life of your clothes and yield up to 430 % more microfibres.
- After washing, remove garments and hang out to dry. Bag should be zipped shut and hung in shade to dry.
- Microfibres can be collected from the bag after every 5-10 washes, as needed, and disposed of in your general rubbish. They will be found clinging to the seams. Never rinse these down the drain.
This bag is not the perfect solution to the problem of microfibre pollution from laundry. However, the problem is significant and every action to restrict microfibre pollution is worthwhile.
Frequently asked questions:
Q. Does the bag contribute to the problem of microfibre pollution?
A. Good question. Yes, obviously the bag would yield microfibres itself. However, it is made from monofilament nylon which lasts up to 10 times longer than multifilaments used in clothing. Additionally, the 83-90% reduction in microfibres in washing machine waste water includes any fibres shed by the bags. We are investigating further, and will assess the entire life cycle of the bags.
Q. What do I do with the bag at the end of its useful life?
A. Return it for recycling to Ocean Remedy, PO Box 175, South Fremantle WA 6152.
Q. What type of garments should be washed in the bag?
A. Honestly? All of them. The research is yet to be completed on natural fibres which may also be simply delivering toxicants into marine environments before breaking down. However, for now, we can confidently say synthetic clothing is a significant contributor to microplastic pollution and is clogging up our ocean sediments, compromising ecological health. If you have clothing with screen printing on it, elasticated waste bands, sparkly motifs, any level of lycra/elastane, you should consider washing it in a laundry bag. Plus you get the added bonus your clothes should look better for longer, a double win!