Question: Can i make a microplastic filter by just putting a nylon over the drain of my washing machine?

hikinghack is asking a question about microplastics: Subscribe to answer questions on this topic

hikinghack asked on May 12, 2019 01:15
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I got a #babylegs question that could turn into a babylegs story: If the babylegs can catch microplastics, can I put some on my washing machine outlet as a filter to trap the plastics? Or will the babylegs degrade and just contribute more pollution?

would the amount of stuff collected by putting a nylon on my washer outweigh the amount it might contribute. I wonder how long it would last before needing a change?



4 Comments

Seems like it would work, except that the force of the water coming out of the machine would destroy the filter material or backflow in an undesirable way.

Check out the RUST manual, toolbox for sustainable cities. They have some schematics for a small greywater treatment system for wash water.

The long and short of it would be that you need to build some kind of surge tank to contain / dissapate the energy of all that water, before running it through a filter.

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Hiiii!!!!! Could be related to: https://publiclab.org/questions/warren/10-29-2018/could-the-babylegs-diy-trawl-be-used-to-collect-microplastics-in-my-sink maybe?

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Yes-- this is the same process. The issue with washing machines, as Eucastic above points out, is that there is a force to the water that a simple and dense filter like Babylegs doesn't necessarily account for. It would take a dedicated built-out, but nylon is what post plastic filters would be made of regardless of the build, and the least expensive and most accessible small mesh filter we've tested is baby tights. You could also use the cotton ones here-- we don't use them in the trawl because they get really heavy in the water, but that wouldn't matter here. At the same time, there's a reason you don't find many cotton water filters... they decay faster than others. If you test this out, let us know how it goes!


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