Here's the thing: once you get these microfibers in the environment, it's impossible to take them back out. So the only way to fight this type of microplastic pollution is to catch it at the source - the washing machine.
At PlanetCare we have developed a microfiber filter that attaches to your washing machine an itcatches 98% of microfibers. It's a great way to tackle these nasty mittle synthetic fibers that disrupt our world. But wait a second - the fibers that you catch need to go somewhere, right? Well, throwing themn in the trash is not a good idea, as the fibers will simply end up in a landfill - back in the environment. That is why PlanetCare filters work a bit differently. The filters use a filter cartridge to catch the microfibers. And when the cartridge is full, you swap it for a clean one. And what happens next?
Once you have a bunch of used cartridges (usually 12), you return them in a supplied box with pre-paid postage. We schedule pick-up and send new filters the other way. Users have no additional costs with the returns. It’s all part of our overall service.
Andrej Kržan, PlanetCare’s co-founder and chief scientist explains the advantages. “Firstly, you don't have to clean the filters yourself. You simply dry them a bit and send the whole thing to PlanetCare. And even more importantly, we make sure that the caught microfibers don't end up in the environment.”
Microfibres don’t belong in the waste. Incineration or landfilling are out of the question. So what can we do with them?
“We disassemble the cartridge and remove the filtering medium (made of thermoplastic polyester) that comes meshed with microfibers,” Andrej explains the first step. The process is conducted in a controlled environment, ensuring that the tiny fibers can’t escape and pollute water and the environment. The cartridges are also refurbished and used again.
Every returned filter is then safely stored in our warehouses. Once we’ll have enough material, microfibers will be reused and recycled. »We need at least 500 kg to start reusing them,” says Kržan.
What new life will these microfibers help create? The sky is the limit. One of the possibilities that we’ve identified is converting microfibers into insulation mats. “But we are continuously searching for other viable solutions with our partners,” adds Kržan.