Press Release: Keeping Plastic Out of Our Oceans

NEW ORLEANS — The Plastic Soup Foundation has been at the center of efforts to stop the plastic pollution of our oceans. Efforts to remove macro-plastic waste have begun and are highly visible.

However, millions of microplastic fibers are released into the world’s wastewater treatment systems when garments containing synthetic materials, such as polyester, nylon, or acrylic, are laundered. This plastic poses an equal danger to our oceans’ ecosystems as it enters the food chain at the micro level.

The Plastic Soup Foundation, Amsterdam, and GreenEarth Cleaning, Kansas City, have entered into a long-term agreement to test and install washing machine filters designed and manufactured by PlanetCare, Ljubljana, Slovenia, capable of removing microplastics from laundered items. These items, when laundered, release millions of plastic micro­ fibers down the drain through municipal waste water treatment systems and ultimately into our world’s oceans.

GreenEarth Affiliates wash some 25 million shirts annually in the United States, and as the largest provider of retail laundry services in the Americas, GreenEarth has been appointed Plastic Soup Foundation’s exclusive service partner in a three-way program between Plastic Soup Foundation, GreenEarth and PlanetCare designed to help keep microplastics out of our oceans. GreenEarth has performed alpha testing on PlanetCare’s initial filter designs and is scheduled to begin beta testing at selected GreenEarth locations in California this summer. A U.S. national rollout is scheduled for 2020.

Maria Westerbos, Founder & Director of the Plastic Soup Foundation, said, “We’re excited to enter into this joint effort with GreenEarth and PlanetCare as we continue to seek ways to meet our mission of having no plastic waste in our water!”

Ron Benjamin, Co-Founder and Managing Director of GreenEarth Cleaning, added, “While we have been focused on achieving maximized sustainability in dry cleaning over our 20 year history, we welcome the opportunity to turn our attention to the emission problems associated with the laundry side of our Affiliates’ business. We intend to provide operational and financial support for Plastic Soup’s overall mission.”

Mojca Zupan, President of PlanetCare, said “PlanetCare is a leader in providing microplastic filtration, and we welcome the opportunity to join forces with the Plastic Soup Foundation and GreenEarth Cleaning as we work to find ways to help make the elimination of microplastics from washing machines a reality.”

About Plastic Soup Foundation:

The mission of Plastic Soup Foundation[1] is: “No plastic waste in our water!” The Foundation does not take plastic out of the water; instead, it wants to put an end to the increasing amount of plastic polluting the ocean by tackling the issue at its sources. Think of microplastics in cosmetics or synthetic fibers from clothing. These all end up in the ocean one way or another. Plastic Soup has been working toward this goal since 2011. According to the international press, it is now “One of the leading advocacy groups in the world to tackle plastic pollution.”

About GreenEarth Cleaning:

For the past 20 years, GreenEarth Cleaning[2] has provided an environmentally non-toxic technology to thousands of dry cleaners around the world who in turn have cleaned some 500 million pounds of clothes during that time. This sustainable technology has allowed GreenEarth cleaners to use less energy, less chemicals, a process that is proven to be environmentally non-toxic, and is gentler for clothes and our planet. As a result, the technology has been embraced by the real estate, financial services, insurance, and garment manufacturing and retailing industries as well.

Importantly, the company’s environmental focus has now caused it to address the microplastic challenge posed by the laundering of clothing containing synthetic materials. GreenEarth is a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and it is the company’s goal to make all garment care safe for our planet, whether using closed loop dry cleaning machines or filtered washing machines.

About PlanetCare:

PlanetCare Ltd.[3] Is a leading developer of specifically designed filtering solutions for the removal of microplastic fibers released during the washing of textiles and clothing. PlanetCare filters are designed to match performance with material efficiency and most acceptable end­ of-life options to reduce environmental burdens. The company has invested significantly in developing a portfolio of filter options that can cover most practices, needs, and preferences. These include in-line, full volume and parallel filtering. PlanetCare is addressing the domestic/household segment as well as commercial applications.

PlanetCare filters have been independently tested by leading research institutions which show a very high retention of fibers up to ninety percent.

References

  1. ^ Plastic Soup Foundation (www.plasticsoupfoundation.org)
  2. ^ GreenEarth Cleaning (www.greenearthcleaning.com)
  3. ^ PlanetCare Ltd. (planetcare.org)

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