A new technology has been developed that is said to reduce the amount of microfibres released by synthetic garments during normal domestic laundering – one of the biggest causes of microplastics pollution.

Unveiled at this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Xeros Technologies says its new washing machine component is one of three new innovations that lower water usage by up to 50% and address the environmental impact of microplastics from synthetic clothing.

The current challenge with home laundry is that when clothes are washed with a traditional home washing machine they are subjected to extensive mechanical action as well as large amounts of chemicals and hot water.

It is estimated that each laundry cycle creates hundreds of thousands of microfibres that are flushed away in the wastewater, are so small that they pass through wastewater treatment facilities, and eventually find their way into rivers, lakes and oceans to the detriment of wildlife and the food chain.  

Indeed, a 2016 study pioneered by Patagonia and conducted by the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management found that a single fleece jacket can shed up to 250,000 microfibres during a single wash.

Xeros's new filtering innovation, XFiltra, tackles the problem directly where the microfibres are created: in the home washing machine.

Compatible with any home washing machine, it features an integrated pump, filter and dewatering device. Unfiltered water enters the XFiltra where the microfibres are trapped and are spun dry into a solid disk for easy removal.

The two additional innovations include the XDrum in-drum technology, which enables manufacturers to incorporate XOrb technology – until now only available to commercial laundry operations – into home washing machine designs.

The XOrb polymer technology is said to enable washing machines to work more efficiently, gently remove dirt and stains while using up to 50% less water and chemicals. They last for many hundreds of washes before needing to be replaced and recycled.