One of our favourite subjects on UrbanMeisters.com is to hunt sustainable fashion brands and give information on how obscure and toxic is the fashion supply chain. And unconsciously and unwillingly too at times, we become the key actors in one of the darkest chapters of conventional fashion: the laundry of our clothes!
- Not only is it extensively water and energy intensive, but also detergents, often over-used, end up in our water system. Also washing products come in plastic containers which in turn is another burden on our eco-system as it is not biodegradable and proper recycling is difficult for most people.
- Greenpeace has shown that residues of the hazardous chemicals that are used during the fashion production stage remain in many clothing items. And when we wash the clothes these chemicals are discharged into our water system and turn into even more toxic and hormone disrupting chemical nonylphenol (NPs).
- Finally each laundry decreases the life span of our clothes and makes us buy new thus perpetuating the viscous cycle of fast fashion.
But at UrbanMeisters, we are constantly on the hunt for solutions to all daily urban living eco problems. You can read here 10 tips on how to green up and tox down your laundry. But these tips cannot totally make laundry green and there is still a lot of room of improvement. This is why the project GUPPY FRIEND from Berlin particularly caught our roving green eye!
GUPPY FRIEND is a wash bag that filters out the tiniest microfibers that are released from textiles during washing.
Green Laundry with Guppy Friend – meet the founders
The founders of GUPPY FRIEND, Oliver Spies (left in the cover pic) and Alexander Nolte (right in the cover pic), are what we refer to as serial green entrepreneurs!
- Oli and Alex developed GUPPY FRIEND together with scientists and experts to make a stand against microplastic pollution.
- They also founded a non-profit organisation ‘STOP! Micro Waste’ to tackle the problem further beyond GUPPY FRIEND.
- Both being passionate surfers also set up LANGBRETT, a company driven by the desire to create sustainable clothes for surfing and outdoor sports. LANGBRETT focuses on eco-innovations, such as 100% recyclable shoes from old car tires and wetsuits.
Now you see why we call them serial green entrepreneurs!
Getting to the bottom of micro fibres trouble after laundry…..
Synthetic materials are poisoning our oceans and food supply. When we think of the issue, images of plastic bottles bags and bottles come to mind, but synthetic textiles are an even bigger part of the problem.
The problem starts with our laundry. An alarming number of tiny fibers from synthetic fabrics are making their way from washing machine into rivers and oceans. Unfortunately, sewage treatment plants don’t effectively filter out these microfibers.
According to a research team from the University of California at Santa Barbara a city of 100,000 inhabitants releases a wash-related volume of microfibers equivalent to 15,000 plastic bags. So a city the size of Berlin may be responsible for generating microfibres equivalent to 540,000 plastic bags – every single day!
Once in the environment, these fibers decompose, which increases their surface area, enabling the fibers to concentrate on pervasive bacteria and pollutants. The tiny fibers are consumed by aquatic organisms, which can result in gastrointestinal infections and blockages, reproductive problems, and starvation—problems that ultimately work their way up the food chain.
What is the solution to these laundry troubles?
Enter GUPPY FRIEND wash bag which filters out the tiniest microfibers that are released from textiles during washing. The fabric bag, made of a specially-designed microfilter material captures 99% of fibers released in the washing process.
You can see the fibers trapped inside the bag after every wash. Simply dispose off the fibers properly in your trash after wash.
The makers of GUPPY FRIEND, Oli and Alex also hope to raise awareness about this problem in general. They founded the non-profit organization ‘STOP! Micro Waste’ to tackle the issue in the long run.
How to work it?
Don’t change your washing ritual – just its toxic effects!
- Put synthetic textiles into the GUPPY FRIEND wash bag
- Close the bag and wash as usual
- Take out wet clothes and residues of microfibers from the inside of the bag. Discard properly.
Where can you get it?
The GUPPY FRIEND wash bag is available on their online store for shipping in Europe, Japan, NZ & USA. They are available on green store EcoMondo in Netherlands for 29,95 eur, at Naturkompaniet store in Sweden. They are also now available on marine conservation Sea Shepherd stores and webshop!
Patagonia in Feb 2017 had announced that it will be stocking GUPPY bags at all its online and stores across US & Europe at cost price to help reduce micro-waste problem! Well now you can shop Guppy wash bag on Patagonia online for $20 in USA!
What can you do?
Support this simple but effective innovation like we do at UrbanMeisters.com! It’s sustainable, ethical and at the same time easy and practical enough to be integrated in our everyday urban lives. In fact we think if that this product’s full potential will be realised if it is also integrated in the early stages of fashion supply chain which involves a lot of washing of textiles.
We’ll leave you with this compelling video from the founders.