• Kirsten

Microplastic Filters

The focus which COP26 has brought to environmental issues is welcome and important. With that in mind, I am pleased to support the proposal for a Bill requiring manufacturers to fit microplastic-catching filters in all new domestic and commercial washing machines.


Microplastic fibres are 5mm or smaller plastic fibres that are shed from clothing when worn and laundered. Due to their size they are too small to be caught by standard washing machines and can end up in wastewater system where they are either caught, remain in sewage sludge which can be spread onto growing crops, or released into rivers and marine environments.


Research from the University of Plymouth has found that a single 6kg washing load can release up to 700,000 microfibres into wastewater systems.


Coupled with findings from the Women’s Institute that UK households are doing as many as 68 million loads of laundry per week, at least 9.4 trillion microplastic fibres could be being released into seas, rivers and waterways.


Microplastic fibre capture filters in washing machines are a proven way to considerably stem the tide of microplastic fibres from clothing into aquatic environments. I was very interested to see this new technology is already in production, and I hope it can be rolled out swiftly and affordably, so we can start to deal with the harm microplastics are causing.