How we can battle microplastics, thanks to Guppyfriend

What’s the First Thing You Think of When You Hear “Plastic Pollution”?

Most people picture plastic bottles and bags littering our environment. In fact, one of today’s most pressing pollution issues is something we can barely see: microplastics.

Read on to find out more about microplastics, what Reima is doing to combat the problem, and how a cool new invention – the Guppyfriend – can help protect our planet in the meantime.

What Are Microplastics and How Are They Harmful?

Microplastics are tiny bits of plastic. They come from a variety of sources, such as car tyres and synthetic fabrics like polyester, polyamide (nylon) and acrylics. Every time we wash our synthetic clothes, they release microscopic plastic fibres – up to 1,900 microfibres per wash. Neither washing machines nor water treatment plants are able to filter them, so these non-biodegradable microplastics find their way into our world’s water.

Microplastics might be tiny, but they’re actually a major threat to our environment.

They’re estimated to be the single most pervasive cause of watershed plastic pollution – even more so than plastic bottles and bags – and it’s because of their tiny size. Pollutants and environmental toxins latch onto the microplastics and are ingested by sea life, causing them to suffer from health issues that affect, for example, organs and hormones. What’s more, the effects of microplastics can be passed up the food chain: if plankton consume microplastics, and a fish consumes the plankton, the microplastics can be found inside the fish. So, what happens when we eat the fish? As of yet, there’s no concrete research about the effects of microplastics on humans, but it’s clear that we are not only harming the environment but likely poisoning our own food chain as well.

Reima’s Role in Resolving the Microplastics Problem

Synthetic materials are needed to make high performance clothing. Natural materials simply can’t compete because they aren’t able to do the things we expect from clothing designed for outdoor activity, like provide waterproof or dirt-repellent protection. This creates quite a conundrum for clothing designers. How can we provide high performance clothing without disrespecting our planet?

At Reima, we take sustainability seriously. We are constantly researching ways to create high-performing clothing that works with Mother Nature, not against her.

When it comes to microplastics, we are focusing our efforts on design and R&D. That means looking for more biodegradable materials, researching materials that shed fewer microplastics, investigating ways to use recycled fabrics, complying with chemical limit values set on kidswear, and incorporating natural fibers when possible. We do our best to choose more ecological materials and reduce our impact on the environment.

Happily, there’s an easy solution to the problem until scientists discover a synthetic material that either doesn’t shed microplastics or is truly biodegradable. The vast majority of clothing-related microplastics are shed in the washing machine, which means we can catch them before they have the chance to sneak into our water.

Meet Guppyfriend

The Guppyfriend washing bag is the world’s first practical solution to the microplastics problem. Specially designed using non-shedding polyamide material, the mesh bag filters 99% of the microfibers that your clothing sheds before it can enter the marine ecosystem. What’s more, Guppyfriend protects your clothing so that fewer microfibres are shed and clothing lasts longer.

Designed by the German non-profit STOP! Micro Waste, Guppyfriend is an easy-to-use solution that protects our environment as we continue to search for solutions on a larger scale. Just put your soft, fuzzy synthetic clothing in the bag and pop it in the washing machine, and any microplastics shed will be collected inside the bag. After the wash, you can easily throw them in the trash, where they won’t enter the water system.

So, there’s no need to toss out beloved fleeces, or say no to anything that’s not wool. With Guppyfriend, we can all enjoy the comfort of high-performance clothing with a clear conscience.

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