Even those of us who are responsible about recycling and living green may be contributing plastic to the ocean just by washing our fleece clothing. As synthetic clothing makes its way through washing machine’s cycle, it sheds tiny plastic fragments that go out with the drain water. Many of these “microfibers” are too small to get picked up by municipal wastewater filtration and end up in the ocean where they are ingested by marine organisms.
The Rozalia Project, a non-profit dedicated to cleaning and protecting the ocean, reports that just one fleece jacket could shed over 81,000 tiny strands of polyester per wash. The group has created a ingenious device, the Cora Ball, as “the world’s first consumer solution” to stop microfiber pollution. Now available as a reward on Kickstarter.com for a donation of $20 or more to the Rozalia Project, the Cora Ball works in any washing machine by catching microfibers so they can’t make their way into our waterways and food chains.
“Our team learned about the microfiber problem while working on marine debris along the U.S. East Coast,” says Rozalia co-founder Rachael Miller. “It became clear very quickly that this could be the biggest pollution problem facing our ocean.”
“We knew we needed a solution, and the ocean itself helped us come up with one,” says Miller. Inspired by the way coral filters the ocean, the group came up with the Cora Ball, a recycled plastic reusable laundry ball that catches microfibers that shed from clothes in the washing machine. The ingenious invention collects microfibers from the washload into fuzz that can be peeled off and thrown away in the garbage so it won’t end up adding to the plastics problem in our oceans.
According to Rozalia, if 10% of U.S. households used a Cora Ball, Americans would keep the plastic equivalent of 30 million water bottles out of our waterways and oceans each year. The group’s Kickstarter campaign to raise money for developing the Cora Ball raised its initial goal in just three hours and will run through April 25 for anyone else that wants to help prevent plastic pollution in the oceans.