Eddy – A Retrofittable Washing Machine Filter for Microplastic Prevention

  • 2019

  • Next Gen

Designed By:

Commissioned By:

Alexander Ghent

Designed In:


The Eddy is a retrofittable filter system for washing machines, designed to stop microplastic pollution from synthetic clothes reaching the marine environment. Operating separately from the washer, it uses a powerful fluid vortex (or eddy) to enhance the filtration process and facilitate a unique, no mess, waste removal mechanism.

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  • Microplastic pollution is one of the most serious threats to the marine environment. One of the largest contributors to this pollution are the filaments released from synthetic clothing during washing. Even a single 6kg wash can flush up to 700,000 microfibres down the drain, into marine life and, from there, to us. Some estimates put the number of these fibres already in our oceans at over 1.4 million trillion. Disturbingly, there are countless washing machines worldwide constantly adding to the problem. My challenge was to create a viable, user-friendly solution that would suit a wide array of consumers.

  • To have the greatest possible impact on pollution, the design solution needed to be widely accessible and easy to adopt. The Eddy employs a number of innovate features to meet this goal. To accommodate the widest range of washing machines, it attaches to existing drain hoses using standard-sized hose clamps and fittings. Microfiber-contaminated water is automatically filtered in the wash cycle with no additional input from the user. And to make waste disposal easy and mess free, the Eddy can be cleaned using your home vacuum cleaner. All in a form factor that is attractive in any home environment.

  • Microfibers are entering the marine environment at an alarming rate. On their way to the ocean, Microfibers absorb chemical pollutants that make them toxic. When mistaken for food by marine life, there are a slew of negative health impacts. Increased mortality and effects on offspring are just two examples of the proven dangers to delicate marine creatures and ecosystems. These fibres are being found in our own seafood and recently have even been found in people. The Eddy will play a very import part in stopping microplastic pollution, helping create both a cleaner environment and a healthier society.

  • Water from the washing machine is introduced at an angle to the filter chamber. This produces the vortex or “eddy” that gives the design its name. By creating turbulent water in the chamber, fibres are prevented from building up unevenly on the filter. The stainless-steel micromesh filter is rated to 5 microns one third the diameter of a human hair, ensuring microfibers will be stopped but water can easily pass through. The Eddy has an internal pump that generates a constant flow of water through the device. This makes the Eddy far more reliable than other washing machine filters, as it is far less likely to back up. During cleaning, a vacuum hose can be applied, creating suction along the three, slotted cleaning armatures that draws microfibres off the filter surface. This same airflow also drives an impeller, imparting spin to the cleaning arms, allowing them to rotate and cover the whole circumference of the filter cylinder. From there, fibres are sucked into the vacuum cleaner. The volume that the fibres take up is inconsequential, so the user can continue using the vacuum normally after cleaning, so fibres end up in the bin along with other waste, not the ocean.