Green experts call for new washing machine standards

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The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and Wildlife and Countryside Link want all washing machines in the UK to be installed with plastic microfibre filters. The groups have also called for the machines to have water efficiency labels and meet minimum water efficiency standards.

Sandy Luk, chief executive at the MCS, said: “The technology for microfibre filters on domestic and commercial washing machines is widely available. 

“We need laws that ensure manufacturers fit microfibre filters in all new domestic and commercial machines to tackle microfibre pollution.  

 “Invisible to the naked eye, these tiny fibres are finding their way into the ocean, polluting our seas and making their way up the food chain. 

“We need the UK Government to act now to prevent further build-up of plastics in our environment.” 

Up to 440 trillion fewer plastic microfibres would be released every year with a filter, the groups said.

If all UK households had maximum water efficiency machines in their homes, household water use could be reduced by around three per cent – with 116 billion litres of water saved every year.

Dr Richard Benwell, chief executive of Wildlife and Countryside Link, said: “At a time when we’re still facing droughts, even in winter, it’s shocking that our washing machines and dishwashers are gulping so much water unnecessarily.

“We must drive water waste down, and efficiency up. Recent proposals on water efficiency labels are a good start helping consumers to choose more water efficient products, but really we need strict standards that appliances such as washing machines must meet. 

“The most water-wasteful machines simply shouldn’t be allowed to be sold in the UK.”

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