GuppyFriend Washing Bag was a PR gift
In my first post on Plastic Free July I touched on the GuppyFriend Washing Bag. I am always looking for ways to shopping in a more conscious way from eco-friendly and sustainable brands. But what do I do about caring for the things that I already own?
Microplastic in Clothing
It may surprise you to learn that plastic can be found in the majority of our wardrobes. This comes in the form of polyester, acrylic, nylon etc. When synthetic items of clothing are washed they release millions of tiny plastic fibres, known as microfibres of micro plastic, into your washing machines and eventually into our rivers and oceans. This is a risk to not only marine life but also to human health, however as yet we don’t know the full impact.
The GuppyFriend washing bag
There are several things we can do to try and combat this. We can start by washing our clothes less often which will also help to extend the life of clothing. When we do need to put on a load making sure that the machine is full will reduce the garments from rubbing together. You can also use a laundry bag like the GuppyFriend Washing Bag which is an effective, scientifically proven, and patented solution to stop microplastic pollution. It reduces fibre shedding and protects our clothes.
The Guppyfriend is made from untreated, undyed polyamide. That got me thinking, if it is basically a plastic bag itself, does the GuppyFriend also release microfibres? The website says that isn’t the case.
“The fabric itself doesn’t shed any microplastic fibres because it is made of monofilaments. These are more like stable sticks than threads, which are made from several fibres and are typically used for textiles. The binding tape consists of long staple fibres. Even if these should become detached from the bond, it is unlikely that they will break off.”
The GuppyFriend is currently available in one size: 19.7″ × 29.1″ (50 × 74 cm) but there are plans to make other sizes. However, the current size is ideal because if you put your clothes in a larger bag they would lose more microfibres as they rub together than if you used two medium sized bags. When your GuppyFriend has reached the end of its life you can return it and STOP! Micro Waste will recycle it.
Start by sorting through your clothing and putting anything that is synthetic in the GuppyFriend washing bag. Make sure that it is only two-thirds full so that the clothes can still move around and get clean. The instructions state to wash no hotter than 40C which is fine for me as I always try and use the coolest setting. Obviously there are some items that I wash on a hotter cycle like bedding and towels etc. When you have used the bag several times you will start to see where microfibres have collected inside it. Make sure that you don’t rinse the bag out as this will defeat the object of using it. Instead, you can easily gather up the fibres and dispose of them in the rubbish.
Does it work?
The website states that “Guppyfriend Washing Bag was tested over a period of three years by scientific institutes, universities, representatives of the outdoor and textile industry, as well as retailers. These tests serve as a basis for offering the Guppyfriend Washing Bag as a temporary solution against microplastic pollution.”
The Guppyfriend Washing Bag prevents fibre loss during washing in two ways. Firstly, it significantly reduce the number of fibres that break off. Secondly, any fibres that do break off during washing are retained in the bag. Your clothes are still thoroughly cleaned as normal when the bag is used, and if you use it properly the bag should last for a long time.
After the first time I used the bag I didn’t really notice anything collecting in the bag. However, they are called microfibres for a reason. The more you use it you can see the fibres gather in the edges of the bag so I only remove them after a handful of washes when they are easy to collect.