The National Ocean Service defines microplastics as "small plastic pieces less than five millimeters long which can be harmful to our ocean and aquatic life." They can come from multiple sources, such as larger pieces of plastic pollution, microbeads in beauty products, and yes, even our laundry.
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When you wash synthetic textiles like nylon, polyester, or spandex, microplastics can be released in your washing machine's water. When this water is drained, it ends up in septic tanks, sewer systems, and wastewater treatment facilities before eventually making its way to our waterways. That's how some of these microplastics end up in our oceans.
To combat microplastics being released during the laundry cycle, there are now add-on washing machine microfiber filters and even laundry bags designed to catch microwaste. However, Samsung is looking for a more holistic solution.
In collaboration with outdoor clothing company Patagonia, Samsung is working on a new washing machine that will minimize the microplastics released into our water. "Because the best way to get plastics out of our oceans is to prevent them from ending up there in the first place," reads Samsung's press release.
Other eco-friendly Samsung washer features:
All Samsung washers already have a feature called Ecobubble, which allows people to wash their clothes at lower temperatures with a greater amount of bubbles. This, in turn, saves energy and gives your garments an increased lifespan.
Plus, the company's AI Wash feature utilizes sensors in the washing machine to calculate the weight of your load and the level of soiling needed. This will result in less water, detergent, and energy being used to get your clothing clean.
With this technology in mind, along with Samsung and Patagonia's partnership, we can't wait to see what the future brings for eco-friendly washing machines. But, in the meantime, you can always use a laundry bag like Guppyfriend to prevent microplastic pollution.