All-Party Parliamentary Group calls for mandatory micro fibre filtration on washing machines

5 October 2021

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Microplastics, set up in 2020, has released a report demanding Parliament to pass legislation mandating micro fibre filtration in all domestic and commercial washing machines by 2025.

The APPG report, a big driver of which is the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI), which has campaigned strongly on the issue of micro fibre pollution, as well as requesting micro fibre filtration in all domestic and commercial washing machines by 2025, urgently called for:

• Introduction of legislation and standards which require micro fibre filters to be fitted into all new domestic and commercial washing machines from 2025

• The creation of UK micro fibre recycling technology.

•  Incentivise the establishment of recycling technology for micro fibres with funding through Innovate UK to enable UK businesses to deliver viable micro fibre recycling solutions at scale

• Washing machine manufacturers and/or filter manufacturers are mandated to communicate how micro fibre waste should be correctly recycled or disposed of

• Create an ‘Environmental Quality Standard’ for plastics.

Filtration and Wastewater

• Introduce an ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’ scheme for textiles from 2023.

Together with policy experts, leading academics and environmental NGOs, Xeros Technologies PLC attended the launch of the report. In a report form Cinet, Mark Nichols, company CEO of Xeros, which serves the commercial laundry sector under the Hydrofinty name, said : “At Xeros we have long held that micro fibre filtration must become mandatory in domestic and commercial washing machines and garment finishing equipment.

 “Our journey began with a very public commitment to the UN Oceans Conference to produce an effective filtration solution for washing machines. Since then, the issue of micro fibre pollution in the environment and our precious oceans has grown exponentially.

 “The work of the NFWI in highlighting the issue of micro fibre pollution caused by laundry helped bring this to the attention of the general public and, by extension, the work of the APPG on Microplastics is now bringing the matter to the attention of government and decision-makers who can make a real difference.

 “Effective micro fibre filtration in washing machines is the quickest and most cost-effective way to mitigate the release of micro plastic from laundry to aquatic environments. By calling for legislation in the UK, the APPG Microplastics is taking an important step towards making this a reality.

Ann Jones, chair of the NFIW, prefaced the report, saying ““The Women’s Institute has been working to protect and conserve our oceans from pollution since 1927. Since the start of our ‘End Plastic Soup’ campaign in 2017 to eliminate micro plastic pollution from laundry, we have written and published our ‘In a Spin’ report. Across England, Wales and the Islands, WI members have raised awareness of the problem of plastic micro fibres within their own communities, and championed best practice clothes- washing behaviours. The APPG on Microplastics’ holistic recommendations aim to deliver concrete changes across the life-cycle of a garment to help clean up our environment. 2021 is a huge year for climate and environmental action in the UK, and we urge the UK Government to use our thorough policy recommendations as a solid foundation to stem the tide of plastic micro fibres into Britain’s seas and waterways.”

• Download the full report here


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