2018 Winners

Stop eating your dirty laundry - Our solution to microplastic pollution

Microplastic pollution is a growing problem, gaining attention through bans on microbeads and straws, yet little has been done about the largest contributor, microfibres. These tiny, plastic threads are released during the washing of synthetic textiles (such as polyester or fleece, spandex, nylon, and more) and pollute waterways around the world. Chemicals such as pesticides, PCBs, BPA, and persistent organic pollutants stick to these plastics and increase in concentration as they move up the food chain. These contaminants have been linked to developmental delays, diabetes, and cancers. Not only are these toxin-coated plastics harming sea life, but microfibres have been found in 83% of the world's tap water, as well as in bottled water, honey, salt, and beer. We are all consuming some really dirty laundry.

 

PolyGone Technologies is developing products that capture microfibres before their release and before they enter our food and beverage. PolyGone Sheets can be tossed into the washing machine with your laundry, easily cleaned, and reused. PolyGone Filters are filter attachments designed for the washing machine or other industries. We hope that this filter can even be installed at the washing machine manufacturer, making it even easier for the average person to prevent the release of microfibres. Industrial applications include wastewater treatment, drinking water filtration, beverage processing, or aquaculture. These filters will be customized to the given business' needs.

 

We utilize sustainable materials, and have already been able to prevent the release of 95% of microfibres released. As most municipalities cannot recycle microfibres, collected fibres can be returned to us for proper recycling or reuse. Returned microfibres will be rewarded with a discount on a future purchase.

 

Our approach is necessary as synthetic textiles dominant the fibre market, making up two-thirds of the average wardrobe. Synthetics are too prevalent to be banned, thus microfibres must be captured before they enter waterways and before they enter our bodies. Limited research exists for this emerging issue. We have the ability to test and detect microfibre emissions and have the technology to reduce those emissions. We can help consumers and businesses track and reduce their microfibre emissions, providing added value for environmentally minded individuals and brands, and saving everyone from consuming plastics.

Tags

2018 Winners
Archived
2018 Winners
Idea No. 238