Did you know that with every laundry cycle, microfibres are released from our clothes, through our washing machines, and end up in the ocean, endangering our wildlife? German design brand LANGBRETT developed the idea for Guppyfriend, a laundry bag solution that collects these pesky microfibres, so that they go no further than your washing machine. We had the opportunity to chat to the team behind Guppyfriend and pick their brains about this planet-loving wonder bag.
Read our interview with GuppyFriend below
What is Guppyfriend, and what was the inspiration behind the brand?
Microfibers released from washing synthetic garments harm the environment. With each wash, countless plastic fibres make their way from washing machines into rivers and oceans. The Guppyfriend Washing Bag is a pragmatic filter solution and a communication tool to educate people about microplastic pollution. Using a laundry bag also extends the lifetime of the textiles by reducing abrasion, and fibres that break are filtered; remaining in the bag. Guppyfriend helps people to be more mindful of their buying and washing habits, and hopefully move towards a more positive lifestyle change.
How has Guppyfriend grown since it started?
We have our own clothing brand LANGBRETT, where we produce textiles and shoe made of natural materials. We work in a closed loop recycling system, source every material ourselves, and don’t use any products that harm nature. With the Guppyfriend Washing Bag, we want to highlight the problem of microplastic pollution from synthetic textiles. Guppyfriend started as a Crowdfunding campaign, and we now cooperate with business partners in more than 25 countries. Regardless of whether it’s the big brands or small owner managed stores- the most important thing for us is to educate people about the problem of microplastics. Our profits of the bag go to our “STOP! Plastic Academy”. As a company, we have facilitated a number of clean ups, workshops for school kids and industry partners as well as train-the-trainer programs.
Can you tell us a bit about how Guppyfriend bags work, and what are they made from?
Apart from the zip, the bag is made entirely from pure Polyamide 6.6, which is untreated, undyed, and does not contain any additives. The mesh is made out of monofilaments, which are more like sticks than threads, and thus does not release fibers itself. According to the Fraunhofer Institute, the Guppyfriend Washing Bag reduces fibres breaking by roughly 86%, which means it significantly extends the lifetime of your textiles. The fibres that do break are captured inside the bag; and after the laundry cycle is complete, you can remove the fibres from the upper corners of the bag and dispose of them properly.
What are the dangers of microplastics on the planet?
Microplastic is everywhere; in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the soil our food grows in. It’s found in the arctic ice and the remotest parts of the deep sea. It’s proven to be in our foods: honey, salt, beer and even in our bodies. Once it is in the environment, it circulates in a never ending circle through the elements- getting smaller and smaller over time. There will never be any technology that can change that. The environment accumulates toxins and harmful bacteria, 'the so called biofilm'. Being mistaken for plankton, this enters the marine food chain, eventually ending up on our plates. It also enters our bodies through the air, as we breath in tiny particles of microplastics every day.
What are some other ways we can reduce microplastic pollution?
First of all: Try to avoid plastics whenever and wherever you can. Ask your favourite store, bar or restaurant for plastic free alternatives, and learn to identify misleading advertisements. There is also a lot you can do when it comes to your laundry: our wash guide “TEN FOR THE OCEAN” contains 10 simple rules what you can do to avoid plastic pollution during washing.
What have you been doing over the past few months to live more thoughtfully?
We are constantly revising our processes and partnerships, and are looking for ways to live a more sustainable life; starting with the elimination of most plastics in our office, to shortening transport routes. At LANGBRETT and Guppyfriend, we try to be as transparent as possible. Our intention is not to sell as many products as possible, but to educate people and enable them to make conscious decisions. Buy less, but better, reflect on your washing behaviour, skip plastics whenever you can and spread the word about (micro)plastic pollution.
Get your own Guppyfriend bag here