Did you know that microplastics released during machine washing of synthetic fabrics is increasingly becoming a serious environmental issue?
In response to the problem, Electrolux has developed a filter to capture microplastics released from washing machines to help prevent them flowing into our waterways, rivers, and oceans.
The Electrolux microplastic filter offers a solution that allows you to machine wash synthetic clothing while reducing their environmental impact. Installed on your laundry wall, the filter captures up to 90% of microplastic fibres larger than 45 microns released from synthetic clothing* during the machine-washing process. As a global leader in sustainable appliance design, the Electrolux filter is made from at least 50% recycled plastic content.
*Filtration capacity measured using an internal test with polycotton and polyester blend materials using the Synthetics cycle at 40°C.
Microplastics are defined as plastic particles smaller than 5mm. They are pollutants that do not biodegrade easily when released into an aquatic environment, causing significant damage to marine life. These particles are classified into primary and secondary microplastics. Synthetic microfibres are a sub-category of the microplastic family, covering a wide range of sizes (from approximately 3 to 30 micrometres [μm] in width) and primarily found in clothing and textiles, and also in transportation products such as tyres. They include various polymeric materials, including synthetics, semi-synthetics and natural products.
The main cause of the release of microplastics from synthetic clothes is the mechanical and chemical stress to which the fabrics are subjected during machine washing, which leads to the detachment of the microfibres from synthetic fabrics, such as polyester and nylon.
How much microplastic are released during a wash cycle?
To date, there is no formally documented quantity as there are many variables that need to be taken into consideration. Several initiatives around the world are currently taking action to evaluate the release of microplastics from fabrics from different perspectives: from the nature and structure of synthetics fabrics to machine washing conditions.
The microplastic filter is fitted on the wall next to your washing machine and can be installed on either side of the appliance. The filter is secured to the wall with screws and should be positioned at a height of 110cm, calculated from the top of the plate to the floor (or pedestal if present). Maintain at least 40 cm of space above the filter and 20cm either side, to facilitate ease of opening and prevent obstructions from walls or shelving.
*Assuming a weight of 5 g per shopping bag (Julien Boucher, Damien Friot – Primary Microplastics in the Oceans – IUCN 2017)
*The cleaned filter can be recycled. When the filter is not cleaned properly it should go in the general household waste bin.