STOP! Micro Waste: Introduction to the Guppyfriend

Thursday, Jan 11, 2018

Sea Shepherd is proud to work together with STOP! Micro Waste to prevent micro waste from entering our waters. You can buy the Guppyfriend washing bag from our stores now and be part of the solution. Please read the article below by Philip Ehrhorn, Environmental Engineer from STOP! Micro Waste to learn more about the project.


The Guppyfriend bag keeps dangerous plastic microfibers out of our oceans.

"Every time we wash our clothes tiny fibers break off from the material they’re made of and this is where the problem begins. Wastewater treatment plants can’t filter these tiny fibers efficiently, so they will find their way into our streams, rivers and oceans. Not all micro fibers pose a threat: natural fibers will quickly degrade, but fibers from synthetic materials such as Acrylic, Nylon or Polyester might take hundreds of years before they are broken down.

The tiny fibers that end up in the water concentrate pervasive bacteria and pollutants and 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.

Microfibers are now the most abundant form of plastic pollution in our oceans. But what can one person do?

Many people own outdoor or sports clothing made purely from synthetic materials, or have bought clothes from recycled materials in good conscious that there was no problem with this.

The Guppyfriend was developed by STOP! Micro Waste to offer a pragmatic yet effective measure to stop microfiber pollution and to raise awareness of the problem. Just pop all of your clothing containing synthetic materials into the specially-designed bag and wash with your other clothes.

The Guppyfriend will catch all the microfibers that break off during the washing cycle (tested by the German Textile Institute) and will also protect the clothes inside the bag so they lose on average 80% less fibers in the first place (test series by the Fraunhofer Institute). The fibers that do break off will then collect in the top corners of the bag like lint, from where they can be removed.

The correct disposal of the fibers confronts us with another problem. While some countries have banned landfills, many are still using them. Microfibers in landfills are not what we want either. The solution for now is to collect them at your home; the yearly collected amount per person shouldn’t be more than a cup. STOP! Micro Waste is working on a recovery plan for these fibers. 

For the future, STOP! Micro Waste is trying to get washing machine manufactures on board to implement effective filter systems, but it will probably take years until the market is ready for it. In the meantime, Guppyfriend is the easiest way to take action today."

The Guppyfriend is available in the official Sea Shepherd Store.

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