Reducing microfibers in our waterways

Microfibers are prominent in the media these days – how they’re getting into our waterways and the food chain. When we wash synthetic garments, hundreds of thousands of microfibers make their way into the ocean.

The GuppyFriend Washing Bag is an effective laundry solution that helps protect our marine life and ourselves.

Invisible to the naked eye, microfibers are tiny particles that measure less than five millimeters in size. During the washing cycle, they shed from synthetic materials like nylon and polyester.

Scientists have detected these tiny plastic particles in ocean organisms across the food chain – from microscopic plankton to the fish we eat. Because of their size, microfibres can also pass through sewage treatment plants and into our water supply.

The GuppyFriend is part of our holistic solution to microfibers – to trap them at their source in your washing machine. But more needs to be done across the entire microfibers journey if we want to find a long-term solution.

Care and Repair: Reducing microplastic waste with GuppyFriend

Extend the life of your gear and help protect our marine life

How your GuppyFriend works to trap microfibers

It’s difficult to control what happens to microfibers after we wash our synthetic textiles. The GuppyFriend gives you the option to wash responsibly and dispose of the synthetic microfibers the right way.

You can treat the GuppyFriend like a regular washing bag. Take the following simple steps:

  • Open your GuppyFriend and pop in your synthetic garments
  • Wash your gear as per the instructions on the tag

The main difference between the GuppyFriend Washing Bag and a standard wash bag is that the Guppy isn’t just extending the life of your gear – it’s also trapping microfibers as they wash off your clothing.

Depending on how often you wash, you’ll find an accumulation of microfibers in the upper corners of your Guppy Bag. Once the clusters are big enough for removal, simply chuck them in the bin.

A diagram of the lifecycle of microfibres after they're washed off clothing
Microfibres move through the food chain to our own bodies

Looking at the bigger picture

Despite their microscopic size, microfibers are a huge issue. The outdoor industry is determined to understand how we can best mitigate our own environmental impact.

It’s a long and complex process – we still need to better understand our role so we can implement the best long-term solution possible.

For instance, the Outdoor Industry Association Sustainability Working Group has a vision to create products that don’t cause harm. This may include working with textile manufacturers to develop new materials which shed less plastic.

Image of a person putting their GuppyFriend in the wash
Take a first step towards preventing microfibres from entering waterways with a GuppyFriend

After product development, it’s essential to look at the next stage of the journey. At the moment, the filters in washing machines and wastewater treatment plants are unable to capture 100% of microfibers. In the future, a multi-faceted solution might include:

  • Developing new materials
  • Designing smarter washing machines
  • Upgrading wastewater treatment plants

Our individual consumption also needs to radically change, as synthetic material is in high demand. A city the size of Berlin releases a wash-related volume of microfibers equivalent to around 500,000 plastic bags every day.

It’s pretty clear there’s no quick fix. Luckily, the GuppyFriend is a practical and effective short-term solution to reduce plastic pollution in our waterways right now.

So, next time you wash your fleece or other synthetics, use a GuppyFriend.