£30 washing machine filter could cut plastic pollution 

 In News

Which is the worst household item for causing pollution? The surprising answer is the washing machine with the heat from spinning cycles causing emissions into the atmosphere and then the trillions of tiny plastic fibres from synthetic clothing flushed away which clog up the oceans and threaten marine life.

But now, said Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox, a new £30 filter could drastically reduce the problem.

Scientists at the University of Plymouth tested six different designs and found the most effective cut the number of fibres released by almost 80 per cent.

This is excellent news for the environment,” said Ron Fox, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park, “and the UK should now follow the example of France, which said in February this year that all new washing machines sold from 2025 should have a microfibre-filter fitted when manufactured.”

Research has already shown that 700,000 microfibres, which are thinner than a human hair, are flushed away in every washing load of synthetic clothing.

It has been calculated that nine trillion fibres a week could be released from domestic washes into the sewage system, which account for about a third of plastics released eventually into the sea.

“The problem is that some marine animals mistake these microfibres for food and so they enter the food chain,” added Ron.

A study found that 63 per cent of the shrimps in the North Sea contained synthetic fibres while scientists at the Marine Conservation Society believe there is more plastic than plankton in the Pacific Ocean.

The best of the filters, which is not yet available on the market although there are discussions going on with manufacturers, used a very fine mesh filter inside the washing machine to capture 78 per cent of the microfibres.

A spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said they were keeping the idea of compulsory microplastic filters under close review.

“Often the environmental problems seem so huge and difficult to change,” said Ron. “But this is a small and easy price to pay for a quick solution, particularly if the fashion industry also tackled the problem at their end by changing designs and altering the way material is woven.”

He also pointed out that a move in the 1980s to remove chlorofluorocarbons and halons from spray cans and fridges led to a slow but effective return of a stronger ozone layer.

For advice on all green energy matters and cutting pollution contact Ron Fox on 0845 474 6641.

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