Microplastic-Filtering Washing Machines Exist

Last year, the ‘Reducing Household Contributions to Marine Plastic Pollution’ report revealed that up to 32,000 tonnes of microplastic pollution enter British waterways each year. Clothing is a key cause of this problem, with 2,300-5,900 tonnes of plastic fibres from washing machines and garment factories finding their way into nature annually in the UK.

With shows such as the BBC’s War on Plastic having shed light on this issue, shoppers are snapping up microplastic-filtering devices that are added to washes, such as Cora Balls and special mesh bags. But this week saw Turkish home appliances brand Arcelik go one step further, unveiling a washing machine fitting which filters the tiny plastics shed by textile blends and fabrics like polyester during washing.

The filtration box purports to capture more than 90% of microplastic fibres shed during a typical wash cycle and is located in the detergent drawer. In a bid to discourage consumers from washing the filters out in the sink at the end of their usable life, Arcelik will encourage customers to post them back to the company for recycling. The filtration boxes are due to be fitted to the company’s Beko and Grundig models as standard from early 2020.

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