A significant percentage of water pollution with microplastics is in the form of synthetic microfibers that are shed from our clothes as they are washed. A new device known as Gulp allows homeowners to filter these fibers from their wash water, keeping them from reaching rivers or the sea.
Currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, Gulp was invented by British engineer Adam Root. He previously designed products for Dyson and founded his own company, Matter, to develop and manufacture the device.
Gulp is reportedly compatible with any make and model of washing machine. The drain hose on this machine connects to the back of the machine, delivering the used wash water into it. Water passes through a removable reusable filter cup in the Gulp, then exits the device’s own drain hose and into the municipal sewer system.
According to Matter, the setting is capable of removing up to 90% of microfibers from each load of laundry. After approximately 20 wash cycles, an LED on the top of the device indicates that the filter cup is full. The user then simply takes out that cup, empties it, and puts it back in.
It should be noted that other microfiber filtration systems do exist, but most of them use disposable filters that need to be replaced and simply thrown away at the end of their use.
Speaking of which, what happens to the fibers that Gulp collects? Matter says users can keep them, then send them to the company, which will recycle them or use them in research. Even if the captured fibers are simply placed in the trash and landfilled, Matter says that’s still far better than letting them end up in local waterways.
If you’re interested, Gulp is currently subject to a Kickstarter campaign. Assuming it makes it to production, a £149 (around US$169) pledge will get you one – the planned retail price is £250 ($283).
It is demonstrated in the following video.
sip Self-cleaning microplastic filter for washing machine.