3D printed Cora Ball catches microfibres when doing the laundry

Plastic is everywhere, and clothes are no exception. Microfibres are tiny pieces of plastic that come out of clothes made from plastic material, such as polyester, when they are washed. These microfibres go down the drain and end up in our waterways, where they are often mistaken for food by animals. And, if we happen to eat said animals, we ingest these micro fibres as well. To stop micro fibres from ending up in our oceans, the start-up Rozalia Project has come up with a solution at the core of the problem: the Cora Ball. This 3D printed laundry ball mimics the particle-catching characteristics of coral.

Microfibres are extremely tiny. They can be as small as 3 microns (for comparison, human hair is 50-100 microns thick). Not all washing machines have filters and those that do can only catch larger things, such as keys or stray coins.

The problem does not only lie with the microplastic itself. Many clothes made from organic materials such as wool and cotton are dyed with chemicals that can also harm sea life. These materials also shed microfibres. Unfortunately, there is currently no filter available to capture microfibres, organic or no.

The Cora Ball aims to stop both these problems by capturing all microfibres that are released when clothes are washed. The shape of the ball and its stalks is based on coral, which catches tiny things from flowing water. The 3D printed ball is made from recycled and recyclable plastic and can be used on any temperature. It is made to last.

You only have to put the Cora Ball in with your laundry and you’re ready to go. It works with any washing machine. An additional advantage of the ball is that it also captures hair, which may come in handy in some households.

The start-up says that if 10 per cent of the households in the US used a Cora Ball, the equivalent of 30 million water bottles would be kept out of the oceans, lakes, and rivers.

One ball catches up to 35 per cent of microfibres per load, per Cora Ball. For maximum effect, Rozalia Project recommends using 2 to 3 Cora Balls, but not to use them with delicate items, such as lace, tassels, or crocheted sections, as the fibres may get caught in the balls.

The company aims to find opportunities to upcycle or recycle the fuzz from the Cora Ball, the primary obstacle being the mixed-material nature of laundry lint (polyesters, nylons, polypropylene, cotton, wool, etc.).

The Kickstarter of this project runs until 25 April. Currently, they have already made 3000 per cent of their goal.

Photos: Rozalia Project & Rozalia Project Kickstarter