Guppy Friend Washing Bag Review: Stop Micro Plastic Pollution
What is a Guppy Friend Washing bag and why do you need one?
Micro Plastic Pollution
Plastic is the most prevalent type of marine litter found in our ocean and lakes.
Plastic debris can come in all shapes and sizes, but those that are less than five millimeters in length (or about the size of a sesame seed) are called “microplastics.”
Microplastics come from a variety of sources: small plastic pellets (so calle nurdles) for the production of new plastic, abrasion of car tires, micro fibers from washing your synthetic clothes… It also comes from larger plastic debris that degrades into smaller and smaller pieces.
Plastic in Beauty products
In addition, microbeads, a type of microplastic, are very tiny pieces of manufactured polyethylene plastic. These are added as exfoliants to health and beauty products, such as some cleansers, laundry powder and toothpastes. These tiny particles easily pass through water filtration systems and end up in our ocean and lakes, posing a potential threat to aquatic life. And not only to them. They already found microplastics in beer, bottled water and tap water, sea salt, honey, and yes in our bodies too.
We eat plastic
We are at the end of the food chain and through water, fish, mussels, salt or beer it ends up on our plate/glass. They already found microplastic when researching the stool of humans. (read more: national-geographic)
And we don’t know yet what it means for us in the future, when we eat, drink micro plastics every day.
Microbeads are actually not a recent problem.
Plastic microbeads already appeared in personal care products about fifty years ago, with plastics increasingly replacing natural ingredients.
Yeah I know, it is with all kind of other products. We have natural options mostly, but oil is just too damn cheap. I am still wonderin over and over again, how a non-renewable material that get’s “sucked” out of our earth can be so cheap!
How can we stop micro plastic pollution?
We need to consume less and more cautious! We shouldn’t trust the companies but make our own research. We need real trustworthy eco-labels and laws/politics that are really watching what companies are producing and controlling that no unnecessary pollution is happening.
But since we can not change politics besides voting eco-friendly parties, we can do a lot in our daily life. This way we can pressure companies do produce better products. How? They actually only produce stuff humans buy. As long as the main part of humans buy crap and eco-unfriendly stuff, they will produce it.
If more and more people buy good stuff they will produce more of the good stuff. Just think about organic produce, more and more farmers get on board and you can find Organic in almost every supermarket now… (yes I know, organic should be normal and not labeled extra, and conventional produce should be labeled extra…. But that’s another topic…)
So let's see what we can do to lower our personal micro plastic pollution.
- Buy certified natural cosmetics
- Check the ingredients of cosmetic products before you buy them. Since most of us don’t really understand all the words on a tube for cosmetics, there are a couple of Apps out there already, helping you out. https://www.beatthemicrobead.org/product-lists/
- Buy plastic free produce and other food (plastic free shopping)
- Use reusables instead of single use plastic items
- Reduce plastic all together. Buy less plastic products.
- Buy clothing made from natural materials (hemp, organic cotton, linnen, tencel, wool (look for recycled or certified sustainable wool) etc..- learn more about the sustainability of different materials here-….)
- Drive your car less, use public transport.
- You could buy shoes with a natural rubber sole (when we walk we actually produce micro plastics through the abrasion of the soles while walking)
- Refill your reusable water bottle from tap, don’t buy plastic bottled water/drinks
- Don’t use plastic sponges to do your dishes, use sponges or brushes made from natural materials.
- Do clean ups everywhere! All our rivers end up in the ocean at one time. So if you don’t live in a beach town, don’t wait for the next beach holiday to clean up a beach, do it today, clean up the river front or park, or street in your home town.
- Inform your friends and family and neighbours about micro plastics and what they can do against it too…
- Wash your synthetics by hand or use a Guppy Friend Washing Bag when washing synthetics…..
Micro plastic pollution while doing your laundry?
So yes, micro plastic fiber can get released when you wash synthetic clothing in your washing machine. Fleece is one of the worst. By washing a fleece jacket it can release 1.7gram micro fibers on average. Older jackets shed almost twice as much and jackets made from recycled plastic shed more too. (TheGuardian.com)
And neither washing machines nor wastewater treatment plants can filter the micro fibers. So they go straight into our wild waters…
You can’t even see the fibers so small are they. And while in the open waters they even break down into smaller pieces and are irreversible.
They are so small that even plankton are found with micro plastics inside. Plankton plays a very important role in our aquatic environment. Not only do Phytoplankton produce 50-85% of the oxygen we badly need to survive, a lot of marine animals rely on plankton as a food source. Not only small animals but also some of the largest animals in the ocean (whale sharks)! So they are eating your micro plastic that comes from your synthetic clothing too….
What we can do:
buy less synthetics and more natural materials – wash less (spot cleaning) – wash shorter – wash cold – don’t spin your clothing too much – a front loader is known to wash less “aggressive” than a top loader – don’t wash hard clothing (jeans) together with soft fabrics – don’t use a dryer, that will cause more abrasion – wash your synthetics by hand and water your plants with the waste water (of course using biodegradable soap) – or you can invest in a Guppy Friend Washing Bag-
What is a Guppy Friend Washing Bag?
A Guppy Friend Washing Bag is a bag for all your synthetic clothing. It will catch the micro fibers, and after a few washes you can see all the fibers that normally would end into our waters. With this bag less fibers are getting released and your clothing will stay in good shape for longer. According to a test program from raunhofer Institute UMSICHT 86% fewer fibers shed by using the washing bag.
Why we can’t install this as a filter into our washing machines? The tiny fibers would clog up the filter in seconds…
Of course one of the most asked question is:
“But the bag itself is made from a plastic fabric, doesn’t it shed micro plastic itself?”
You will find the answer (any many more) on the Guppy Friends FAQ:
“The mesh is made out of monofilaments, which are more like sticks than threads, and thus does not release fibers itself. On rare occasions, depending on the mechanical condition of your washing machine, the binding tape around the bag may release a few fibers. The binding tape’s total surface is 0.05m2 and about 100 times smaller than the textiles inside. A washing bag filled with three fleece jackets has an approximate potential fiber-losing surface of 1,9m2 (inside and outside). We are working on alternatives, but we have accepted this compromise at the moment because it extends the overall lifetime of the bag. We constantly test and improve the overall quality of the bag itself and its washing and stability performance.”
Guppyfriend Washing Bag Review
I bought my Guppyfriend Washing Bag from the Organic Basics Online Shop. They have now a shop section for Accessories, where they, besides reusable bottles, bamboo toothbrush, etc. they now also have the Washing Bags in Stock!!
I don’t have many synthetic clothing anymore, but I do have some older and second hand active wear shirts, socks, leggings for running and hiking. And I also have a leggings and a bra from Organic Basics made from recycled nylon. (Check my review here.)
So when my washing bag arrived I couldn’t wait to use it. No more handwashing from now on;)
How to use it:
So first, while the bag looks relatively big, you can not fill it to the brim! Your clothing will not get clean, and some soap might get caught, and you can see white stuff (soap?) on your things. It happened to me during the second wash. So just fill the bag half, and make sure to put some other clothing that don’t need the bag (natural materials) into the washing machine to balance the load.
Then wash like normal. I mostly wash on a short program and with 30-40degrees Celsius and I use Eco detergent or my own made from horse chestnuts. (you can find the recipe here)
-> If you have caught Micro Plastic Fibers in your bag, take them out and please dispose of them safely in the trash bin. Don’t wash down the drain! This would be the highway to the ocean and thats exactly what we like to avoid with this bag!
When I took my clothing out of the bag after the first usage, I could already see fibers in the corner of the bag straight away. I know from other people they can’t see the fibers until they washed a few times, so I guess my old clothing is shedding a lot…. ughhh, my stomach cramped… I mean it was nice to see I caught them now, but I imagined all the fibers that don’t get caught in the future, and didn’t in the past….
So yes, investing in a Guppyfriend Washing Bag seems like a good idea to me!
Is the Guppyfriend Washing Bag THE Solution against micro plastic pollution?
Of course not! We need much more than this… Our waste water facilities needs developement, we need special filters to stop micro fibers getting washed into the oceans, we need to rethink our overconsumption and we need companies to produce new materials and better fabrics!
But the washing bag is a great step when it comes to reduce/stop micro plastic pollution. So if you really care about reducing ocean micro plastic pollution, the bag is a great and important product to have.
Now I feel so much more relaxed and comfortable when washing my running and hiking active wear that I mostly washed by hand all the time after I heard about micro fiber pollution the first time.
I am a referral partner from Organic Basics and the links to the Organic Basics shop are Affiliate links. This means if you buy something after clicking on a link, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. This way you are supporting me and my blog without any hustle and costs.
(Any opinions and thoughts on products I recommend on my website are my own and not influenced by any brand)