Microfiber is a word that many of us have grown familiar with, as it is listed on many clothing descriptors. Only recently connected with the term microfiber is the knowledge that the miniscule particles wash off of our clothing and into our waterways with each load of laundry. Seeing the problem, Cora Ball offers a solution that traps those errant microfibers before they escape down the water drain.
As common as the phrase is, many people don’t know that microfiber is actually a tiny synthetic fiber. In fact, it is so tiny that it measures less than 1/5 the diameter of a human hair. So millions of microfibers are in each article of clothing. Note that microfiber can also be labeled as polyester, nylon, Kevlar, Nomex, trogamid, polyamide, polypropylene and more.
Without being able to see the microfibers it’s difficult to inform consumers about their dangers. It’s not as visual as plastic water bottles lying alongside the road. However, if you replace the term microfiber with microplastic you can see how plastics get flushed into the water system. Once the microplastic travels to the ocean, aquatic animals come into contact with it. Sadly, the simple act of washing your clothes is detrimental to sea life and how it makes its way back to our table. Simply put, that means the fish we eat are now loaded with plastic particles that we can’t see.
Take, for example, your favorite sweatshirt. If it lists any form of microfiber on the label, you’re flushing tens to hundreds of thousands of microplastics down the drain with each washing of that item alone. This has resulted in innumerable microplastics in the ocean.
Enter the Cora Ball. After researching the natural filtering abilities of coral in the sea, the team designed the Cora Ball with the ability to collect microfibers in each load. This allows the microplastic to accumulate into visible fuzz that can be kept from going down the drain. With this in mind, the company estimates that “If 10% of US households use a Cora Ball, we can keep the plastic equivalent of over 30 million water bottles from washing into our public waterways every year. That is enough water bottles to reach from New York City to London.”
In conjunction with the goal of sustainability, the Cora Ball is made from diverted or recycled, and completely recyclable, rubber. It is suitable for all types of washing machines and has proven durability with an expected life cycle of over five years.
With its innovative design, ease of use, effectiveness, and focus on environmental improvement, the Cora Ball has received the following acknowledgements:
Finalist for the Ocean Exchange’s Neptune Award
Part of the 2016 Think Beyond Plastic cohort
Innovation Stage of 2016 Our Ocean Conference, Washington D.C.
Finalist Launch Vermont 2018 Cohort
Finalist Vermont Female Founders Start Here Challenge 2018
Images via Cora Ball