Junior Winner 2020
Are You Ready to Tumble? Protecting oceans from the microplastics in laundry
Sandy mount Park Educate Together Secondary School
Our Junior Winners are a group of future eco-business people from Sandymount Park Educate Together. This group was concerned that microplastics seep into the local water cycle and contribute to ocean pollution. One of the ways this happens is through the tumble dryer, so they created an eco-friendly bag to catch microplastics in the laundry. Now, there is a bag that does this on the market, ‘the Guppy Bag,’ but this bag is made of plastic but that defeats the purpose! The group went above and beyond and created an eco-product with zero carbon footprint.
How does the bag work? All you have to do is place your clothes inside and seal the zip. The bag will then act like a filter and catch most of the microfibers. Not only does it work, but the bag itself is 100% cotton. The team want to turn this project into a successful small business.
Investigated similar products and designed their own that was 100% cotton.
Compared their eco-bag to an already mass-produced bag with same purpose that unfortunately is made of polyamide (a type of plastic material).
Studies found their bag worked about 90% as well as the mass-produced bag (Guppy Friend Bag).
Working on a second prototype by adding a second layer of cotton to catch microplastics in order to catch all the microplastics in a typical washing cycle.
Participated in BT Young Scientist to spread the word.
Raised awareness on social media and in their school about boycotting synthetic clothing, encouraging people to buy cotton clothing instead.
This project caught the attention of more than one judge! We all know microplastics are a huge environmental issue that we face, but it can often be challenging coming up with a solution when the issue is so prevalent. This group’s ability to carry out market research, find an existing product which offered itself as a 'solution', identify issues with the existing product (in this case, it was made from plastic), and develop their very own, far more sustainable, alternative was immensely impressive. If these young people are the entrepreneurs of the future, our future will be a much greener place.