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  • Writer's pictureInge Westerink

Product Review: PlanetCare Filter

Our oceans are getting fuller and fuller of microplastics, this is a common problem. If you've watched the documentary 'Seaspiracy' on Netflix recently you've learned that the fishing industry plays a big role in this. But did you know that 35% of microplastics found in our seas come from our laundry? I decided that I wanted to do more research into the environmental impact of our washing and what we can do to help our seas become a healthier place again.


What are microplastics?

Microplastics are small plastic pieces less than five millimetres long which can be harmful to our ocean, aquatic life, and health. People across the world unwittingly consume roughly 5 grams of plastic each week. I just googled it, and that is the equivalent of 1 credit card each week! Doesn't sound so healthy...


How do microplastics come from our laundry?

About 60% of clothes are currently still made from plastic fibres. Check the labels of your clothes to see what they are made of. The most common plastic fibres are polyester, nylon, acrylic and polyamide. When you wash these clothes, they will leave behind microfibers that will eventually end up in our seas. No less than 700.000 microfibers get released in an average load of washing (based on a load of 6 kg).



What can we do to help our seas and ourselves?

Currently, the best solution on the market is this filter from PlanetCare. You can simply attach it to your washing machine, and it filters the microplastics out of your wastewater. With this filter catching 90% of your microplastics you can ensure that your washing contributes a whole lot less to the microplastics pollution.


By using PlanetCare you will stop over 500 tons of microfibre emissions just by filtering your

laundry wastewater in five years. The same amount would fill 16 Olympic pools and

weigh as much as 105 elephants!


I’m not going to lie, installing this filter did scare me a little bit, but it was easier than I thought it would be. Totally made me feel empowered because I did it myself! The only tool required is a screwdriver and the installation instructions are easy to follow. You can also watch a video on their website.


PlanetCare is currently developing a build-in filter for washing machines. They hope to equip all washing machines with this in the future and have support form the EU in doing this. Sounds like a sustainable washing machine I would for sure be interested in!



After catching (nearly) all your microfibers you can send the used filters back to PlanetCare where they reuse and recycle them. 95% is being reused and the last 5% is recycled. It is always great to see a company taking real responsibility for their products and creating a closed-loop, fully circular solution like this.


Planet Care's reuse and recycling program


Some final tips to reduce the microfibers coming from your laundry:


1. Wear natural fibres

Ever since I made this change, I’ve felt a lot more comfortable in my clothes. Natural fibres are a lot more breathable and if you avoid fabric blends your clothes will be fully recyclable at the end of their lifespan. Some of the most common natural fibres are cotton, linen, wool, cashmere and LENZIG ECOVERO (made from wood pulp)

Which one of these fabrics is the most sustainable is a topic I will have to keep for another blog as this is a complicated matter. Stay tuned!


2. Choose an eco-friendly detergent

Using a good detergent is not only better for the environment but also better for your clothes. They will last you longer. It will also mean you can wash at lower temperatures.


3. Wash as little as possible

Only wash something when it really needs it. I used to wash all my clothes after only wearing them twice, no matter if they were dirty or not. Not so good... But at least I can say that I've learned from my mistake. Air your jumpers outside or in front of a window and try putting your jeans in the freezer (inside a freezer-proof bag). This really works!


Well, I’m off doing another load, something never-ending. But at least I can now do it without having to worry about the planet so much ;).


Let me know if you have any questions or have any tips you would like to share.


Yours in sustainability,


Inge

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