All the things I’ve loved, hated, broken and/or lost.

People who want to start reducing their waste often ask – what is the best place to start? What are the tools worth investing in when building a kit? Are wax wraps worth the hype?

I’ve been ‘low wasting’ steadily for ten-ish years now. I’ve tested and tried many products marketed as sustainable or ‘zero waste’ along the way. Some have been great, and some terrible. The best I use daily and hold up to hard use.

What constitutes a zero waste product anyway? There’s no hard and fast rule, but I’d consider it anything that has the potential to displace a large amount of waste with regular use.

I don’t accept free goods, affiliates, discounts or payment for any products. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but it invariably affects the editorial. So here’s what I believe to be unbiased feedback on stuff I’ve bought or been given (by friends) over the years, in hopes it might help you.

Zero waste products I wouldn’t buy again

Cora Ball – I don’t find it works well enough to capture plastic microfibres to justify its existence. I’ve written about my experience with the Cora Ball and the comments suggest I’m not alone.

Cora Ball microfibre

Weck jars I was swayed by their Instagram good looks, but ultimately reach for them last. They are fussy to use with so many separate parts (five for each jar!) and in my butterfingers, highly smashable. Their fluted shape is inefficient in the cupboard. On the plus side, you can use orphaned lids as fermentation weights or jewelry holders.

Full Circle products – I’ve written in more detail about why I don’t trust this company.

Bamboo clothes pegs – I bought these when our inherited plastic pegs were breaking. They were cheap and I remembered my mom using wooden pegs back in rainy Vancouver, so what could go wrong? Unfortunately mine developed mold over a winter of indoor drying on the rack. I’m trying to get rid of the mold, but next time I’d try stainless steel or recycled plastic.

Glass straw – My first ever reusable straw worked fine and all up until the glass shattered when I dropped it, which seems predictable in hindsight.  It’s also bulkier than stainless steel options, so I didn’t replace it after it broke.

Zero Waste products I would buy again

Mason jars – These sturdy, sealing jars are the heroes of my kitchen. I use them for food storage, refilling, fermenting, freezing, measuring, and in a pinch, as drinking vessels. I don’t make preserves at the moment, but I have and they work for that too. The lids are lightweight, interchangeable, and the measurements  along the side of the glass are invaluable. When I was allowed to eat raw sprouts, they made the perfect container for sprouting using a mesh attachment. I also use them to make lip balm and deodorant.

Coconut coir scrub brushes The perfect dish scrubber.

zero waste dishwashing

Swag bags – Sure, these are glorified damp  towels, but I love ‘em. They keep veggies in good form and are space efficient in the the crisper drawer of our small fridge.

Stainless steel straw – I mostly use metal straws at home for smoothies or iced coffees, but these are small and light enough to pack on the go.  

juice-with-metal-straw

Beeswax wraps – Wax wraps are space saving workhorses. I don’t use them to cover bowls much, but use them constantly for half pieces of veggies, fruit or cheese where they take up very little space compared to using a rigid storage container. I use a larger wrap to keep plastic-free loaves of bread fresh. Wax wraps take up very little space in a drawer when not in use, and are ideal for a small kitchen. They can also be rewaxed an indefinite number of times.

Onyx stainless steel storage containers – I use these to pack work lunches, get takeaway, buy dry bulk goods or deli olives. I can chuck them into a warm water back straight from the freezer. They are lightweight and I trust the seal. I specifically mention Onyx, a Canadian brand, because they are one of the few that are airtight – many steel carry containers aren’t and I fail to see the point. One caution is that they are not insulated, so putting hot liquid inside will make them too hot to carry.  

Onyx containers

Travel utensil set – My lightweight, nesting plastic utensil set was a gift, but I’d buy it again in a heartbeat. I don’t go anywhere without it and the design is airplane friendly (nothing metal or too sharp). I think it came from an outdoor supply shop.

Produce bags – I use a combination of inherited, gifted or traded bags for small grocery items like mushrooms and green beans. Some are lightweight canvas – great for bread – but I prefer the plastic mesh for veggies so I can see what’s inside.

Coffee travel cup – Works equally well for coffee, or water, or wine. The design is just the right size for a barista coffee here in Australia and compact enough to live in my handbag, which it often does.

Pickle pebbles & pickle pipes – I survived for years without them, but these clever little tools have made it much easier to make small batches of different ferments, which helps me save space in the fridge. The pebble weighs the fermented matter below the liquid line and the pipe is a one way valve to safely release gases. The ferments I make at home help me avoid new glass containers.

zero waste hot sauce

Shampoo bars – I had to try a few brands before I found what worked for my hair, and now I love shampoo bars for being plastic free and compact.

Safety razor Still loving it.

Juju cup – I prefer this to the Diva cup I had before because the Australian made Juju cup is more flexible and has a larger capacity. Cup fit is personal, so make sure to do a bit of research on what will work for you.

Hannah pads – I was impressed that even the lightest weight of pads were enough to get me through a whole cycle when I wasn’t able to use my cup.

And zero waste products I have mixed feelings about

Silicone storage bags I have a few Stasher bags and a few of another brand. I use them a lot, and they work especially well for freezing and camping. I like that I can see what’s inside, and thaw the contents super quickly in warm water. My mixed feelings are from not knowing how long they will actually last and having no local silicone recycling options.

Bamboo toothbrushes – I still brush with a bamboo toothbrush for travel, but find them less effective long term than my electric toothbrush. My dentist agrees. Many people love theirs and use them without issue, they just don’t work well enough for me.

‘Eco’ dental floss – I am happy with Dental Lace, but it does cost a lot and isn’t the easiest to find. My main gripes with this category is that so many are not what they claim to be, including one expensive bamboo floss that’s actually made of plastic fibres.

What would I tell my younger self?

Do you really need a reusable straw? Only you can decide. It’s a good exercise to visualise how you’d use something, and slow down the purchase decision, rather than impulse buying.

My best advice when acquiring ‘zero waste’ stuff, is to always consider your own lifestyle, not someone else’s. Lifestyle is unique, and evolves over time as we change households, countries, family size and so on. Not everyone cooks as much as I do. We are a small household at the moment – one couple, one bedroom, and one small kitchen with a small fridge. No dishwasher. Much of what I appreciate in a tool seems to be compatibility with small space living – things that are compact or have multiple uses. What works for me may not suit you. My sister travels constantly for work and loves her collapsible silicone coffee cup, since my metal style wouldn’t work for her. To some, a metal straw would languish in a drawer. I know plenty of people who don’t really find wax wraps all that useful.

If I could, I’d also remind my 2010 self that social pressure is social pressure, even if it’s ‘eco’.  All those beautifully styled Instagram images can fuel the same sort of urges that lead us to overbuy anything. Consider if the zero waste influencer you follow is also hoping to sell you something from their shop/through affiliates or through sponsored content. It’s not WRONG for them to do so, but you might find reviews to be overly rosy when linked to their compensation. Greenwash is tricky stuff! I have been fooled many times. I used to believe the hype around eco plastics, nowadays my bugbear is misleading marketing for barely better products (eco friendly trash liners anyone?) that are significantly more expensive.

I’m curious, what have you found to work well or not well at all for reducing waste?

Why I’ve decided to use cloth nappies

cloth nappy covers

This is a rather presumptuous post, given that we’re still months away from D-day and I’ve literally never changed a nappy in my life. Nevertheless, I’m strangely confident, thanks to the time I’ve spent learning the difference between a flat and all-in-one. I’ve already bought a small stash of various kinds of reusable cloth nappies (diapers to my North American friends).

You might have assumed reusable nappies would be a forgone conclusion for a waste reduction fanatic like myself. Truly, I’m not a martyr. My decision to go with cloth nappies didn’t happen without some trepidation.

In the beginning, I was afraid…

I didn’t know anything about cloth nappies, let alone nappies (let alone babies), except that disposables contaminate our apartment building’s yellow lidded recycling bin with alarming frequency. And boy do they stink. So while I knew nothing about reusables, I knew I categorically disliked disposables.

And yet… reusable nappies? Wouldn’t that be gross? And so the research began.

My initial fears around cloth nappies soon gave way to horror, but at the toileting habits of children, full stop. The pace of changes is absurd. Thrice in ten minutes anyone?True story. The way new parents casually talk about poo is disconcerting. But if you don’t want to change nappies, and never talk about bodily functions, don’t have kids. No nappy can save you, disposable or otherwise, for the 4,000 to 6,000 nappy changes a child will need by the age of two and a half years. And yet, as a friend of mine, a new mom, helpfully reminded me, changing a nappy is one of the easier chores, ha.

Why it made sense to go with cloth nappies.

Disposable nappies are in the news for all the wrong reasons, like this or this. We all hate ’em! Yet 95% of Aussies will use them on their children, sending a collective 2 billion disposable nappies to landfill a year. Ironically, if you mention reusables, reactions can range from dismissiveness to disgust. As I’ve learned with root canals, the biggest fear mongering comes from those without first hand experience.

Lifecycle analysis is tricky and beyond my capabilities. Disposables have an enormous landfill and plastic footprint, while cloth nappies use water and pesticides for fibre growing and washing, plus laundry detergents. Government resources and studies favour reusables, while disposable nappy producers claim disposables are not so bad. Go figure. I won’t claim that reusables are perfect, but I am persuaded by the following:

  • A lot less plastic is being produced and sent to landfill with cloth.
  • Human waste should be sent through sewerage for treatment rather than to landfill. Although the contents of disposable nappies are meant to be rinsed or put in the toilet before being tossed, who is actually doing this? I reckon disposables wouldn’t seem so convenient if used responsibly.
  • Disposables labeled as ‘environmentally friendly’ that ‘break down in landfill’ conveniently ignore how landfills work. If the fibres are breaking down, so is the human waste, creating methane. And although it’s technically possible to recycle nappies and sanitary products, it doesn’t seem like this is economically viable in Australia. So when it comes to ‘eco’ disposables, my reaction is, why even bother?
  • Reusables can be passed along, sold or reused for a second child, meaning a stash of a few dozen reusables could save 12,000 disposables from landfill (and another few thousand dollars).
  • I’d prefer to tuck $3,000 into an interest accruing savings account for the little one than throw the same money in the trash. Even though Aldi may promote $0.14 a nappy, it’s pennywise, pound foolish over the long term.
  • Disposables are smellier and leakier than cloth, say many people with experience using both types. If your kid soils their clothing thanks to a leaky disposable, you’re doing ‘cloth’ laundry anyway.
  • We’re adding a (drooly, messy) human to the mix. There will be more laundry no matter what. Luckily, my machine does the washing and all I do is push some buttons, feed it detergent and hang the load to dry. Truly, do we ever appreciate running water and modern washing machines as much as we ought to?
  • With a child in tow, I imagine doing laundry at home will be an easier task than a trip to the shops to buy more disposables.
  • We have a good laundry set up with a relatively new, front loading washing machine that we can program for overnight and eco cycle washing. Plus, a nifty solar powered dryer (yes, I’m simply referring to the almighty sun shining down on the clothesline).
  • You can repurpose old tea towels and tee shirts as extra ‘booster’ inserts. Or conversely, you can repurpose old nappy inserts as cleaning rags.
  • I’ve been using reusable period products for years, including cloth, and I would never go back. I’m convinced of their effectiveness.

Worn out cloth nappies will eventually need to be disposed, but a couple dozen nappies after heavy use seems a pittance next to 6000 – 12,000 disposable nappies. Yes?

Which is the best cloth nappy system?

Choosing a type of nappy system to use was overwhelming, but mostly because of all the strange new terminology (MCN, boosters, doublers, prefolds, OSFM, packet, AI2, soakers, flats, etc.) that I promise eventually makes sense. Most of these are different words for the same things.

cloth nappies

Ultimately nappies are pointless unless they are two things: absorbent and waterproof. We can achieve this in a number of ways, without the super absorbent polymers that are the norm in all disposable nappies. In the simplest terms, the options for reusable nappies are:

Flats: large, absorbent ‘flat’ sheets, often terry towel, folded in smaller origami shapes and fastened onto the baby with a snappy thingy, then covered with a waterproof cover, either a plastic coated fabric (PUL) or lanolinised wool. They are usually the cheapest option and the one your grandmother would recognise.

Prefolds: A more modern take on flats. The difference is that the absorbent insert is ‘pre-folded’ and stitched to a smaller size. Prefolds require less folding before fastening on the baby and putting on the waterproof cover. Many moms say they are useful for getting a good fit on newborns who may not yet fit a larger one size nappy.

All-in-ones and pocket styles: These nappies look most like disposables, meaning the absorbent layer is either stuffed, snapped or permanently sewn into the outer shell before putting on the child. They are usually the most expensive option, but are often favoured for carer settings, as they are the most obvious type of reusable nappy for a newbie to figure out. These are sold in sized or one size fits most (OSFM) styles with rise snaps on the front so the nappy can grow with the kid.

Keep in mind that most cloth nappies fall somewhere along this spectrum rather than neatly into one category. Which is actually great, because it means there’s a style to suit every preference and budget.

At first I assumed an all-in-one nappy would be easiest, since I was very focused on ease at the time of changing. Flats and prefolds looked too complicated. This changed when I found the Facebook groups. I read comments from other posters and once I knew the terminology better, searched for specific threads about brands, styles and issues. I started to be able to visualise the process in more detail and came to the conclusion that ‘ease’ should encompass how effective the style is to contain the goods and to launder, not just how easy it is to get the nappy on the kid. Flats and prefolds are valued for quicker drying times, modularity and low cost.

I asked friends and family for their advice. Two of my sisters in law have toddlers in nearly full time cloth nappies. My dear friend who is both a midwife and waste reduction enthusiast shared her insights from lending her nappy library to new moms. My takeaways are that whatever the style you choose, it’s all very doable, and there is no universal favourite style. It will depend on your baby, your support system, your living situation, your tolerance for folding/stuffing, and preferences around materials to use. You will find parents raving about every possible option and brand, and that’s because I’m sure they all work. Just like a reusable grocery bag, the best one is the one you use.

cloth nappies
The inserts lineup – a wide range of options.

I bought a variety of styles, including several different types of prefolds with covers, plus all in one pocket style nappies. I didn’t buy any flats. I also bought a selection of different brands to test the fit. I’ll see what I prefer and then sell or pass along what doesn’t work for us. I have been working to the assumption that I should have around 30 cloth nappies to be able to wash every second day and allowing for drying time.

Some advice from a cloth nappy newbie

Start early, take your time and don’t panic

If you have the luxury, do your research before the baby is born to let it all sink in. If you can, visit a physical shop with a few different styles or take a 101 workshop – check with your council or the Australian Nappy Association for local events. Many nappy brands look similar online and don’t give a great image or a clear description of the interior insert configuration. In that scenario, you may end up impulse buying based on the prints rather than the function.

Find support

Not everyone will have close friends or family with cloth nappy experience, or even willing partners. Luckily, helpful strangers have created safe spaces and deep knowledge bases around cloth nappies online. I’ve found the following to be excellent resources:

Figure out what ease means to you

Your definition of ease may be different to mine, but at minimum, think beyond the moment of changing to how you will wash and dry, if you’ll have help, and how much you want to spend.

Don’t think of it as all or nothing

Perfect is the enemy of better. If you have to use disposables some or all the time for travel, carers, sick or disabled children, or other situations, I’m not here to make you feel bad about it. Many people that I know who do cloth are ‘mostly cloth’. Some start from birth, others wait a few weeks or months to get to know the ropes of being a new parent before diving in to cloth.

Cloth nappies, the new (old fashioned) normal?

You can buy disposables nearly everywhere today, including the grocery store, but you’ll only find reusables if you’re looking for them. Maybe surprisingly, reusables were the norm not so long ago. My Australian partner was in cloth nappies, as were many of his generation. Disposables were used occasionally, but too expensive for full time. It’s probably true that their mothers weren’t also juggling dual career households in expensive Sydney. It’s a different social landscape when both parents need to earn an income and there is still all the labour to contend with in the home. But that’s why it’s especially nice when there is an option available that can reduce costs significantly over the long term – money saved is hours of the day we don’t have to spend working outside the home. Let’s also remember that the pervasive unequal distribution of household chores in dual parent households is so much bigger than nappies. Disposables haven’t managed to crack that nut anyway.

When I started looking into cloth, one of the unconscious assumptions I’d made was that of course disposables would be more effective and pleasant to use than cloth. I had the impression I’d be suffering through cloth. Even mainstream articles seem to imply that cloth is cute but less effective, which I suspect is the writer’s lack of first hand experience coming through. Because nothing could be further from the accounts of thousands of parents in the Facebook groups I’ve mentioned earlier. People who have experience with both styles frequently comment on how smelly and leaky disposables are.

I’ll give an update after I’ve actually used the nappies. The best laid plans right? If you’ve used cloth or are thinking about it, I’d love to hear your experience, whether good or bad.

How I made an inexpensive upcycled wicking planter

cheap self watering planter

The first year in our apartment, I enthusiastically planted many, many seeds, with some successes and more failures. We moved in during wintertime and I didn’t realise how far the sun would come around the building to blast our south facing patio space.

Many of my plants died from too much sun and not enough hydration. I’d planted them in pots too small or the wrong material to retain moisture at the roots. I’d come home on a 30 degree day to find my plants shrivelled and parched. A good drenching would bring them back to life (sometimes), but it’s better not to stress plants out like that – even I know that.

Self-watering planters to the rescue?

When I learned about wicking, or self watering planters, I was intrigued. Many people told me it changed their gardens. Wicking beds use a reservoir underneath to hold a tank of water that plants can suck up as needed. This keeps them hydrated on scorcher days and saves water. In spite of Sydney’s past week of heavy rain, Australia is never far from drought.

Self watering planters open up opportunities for growing in places that aren’t easy to water (verge gardens for example) or those that don’t get much rainfall. Wouldn’t it be great to have micro community gardens on the verges and untended patches in our cities?

The only issue I had with the wicking beds was cost. I found many beautiful options to buy or build that ran into the hundreds, which I was not prepared to spend. I searched high and low on the web for inexpensive DIY designs. I talked to people who’d had some experience making them.

I had a breakthrough when I mentioned my struggle to a friend who works at a childcare centre. He showed me how they’d installed beds using simple plastic tubs set into wooden frames. Sidenote: cool childcare centre! This seemed achievable and just the right size for my place. I decided when found the requisite materials secondhand, I would make a go of it. When I came across a 60L lidless plastic storage container at Salvos, I knew it was time.

Materials I used to make my self watering planter

  • 60 L plastic container $5
  • 1/2 bag blue metal gravel $4
  • 1 bag scoria $23
  • 1 bag charcoal $8
  • 1 1/2 bags compost soil $6
  • Coles reusable bag – free
  • Hessian sack – free from any coffee roaster
  • Segment from a broken hose – free
  • 1/2 old cotton sock
  • Rubber band

The materials came to a total cost of $46 + the seedlings. The cost would have been much less if I had bought the $8 scoria instead of the $23 scoria, but live and learn.

How I made my self watering planter

First I prepped the plastic container. I made a thumbnail sized hole ⅓ the way up the side, about 12cm from the base. I don’t have a drill so I spiralled the end of a pair of scissors until it bored through. This worked easily after a minute or two. The hole is to let water flow out when there is enough in the reservoir.

cheap self watering planter

 

cheap self watering planter

cheap self watering planter

Next I made the reservoir. I made sure to move the box to where it would live before filling it. I used scoria (a type of porous volcanic rock), charcoal and then gravel for drainage, but you could use sand or just one of these fillers instead of three. I think a finer grade fill would be better, which is why I used charcoal to fill in some of the spaces between my coarse fill. I added the materials up to the same height as the hole in the side.

cheap self watering planter
It came with this little piece of garbage!

cheap self watering planter

cheap self watering planter

self watering planter

I should’ve done the next step before I added the rocks, but yeah, we learn as we go around here. I used a bit of a broken hose as the watering pipe and dug it into the rocks . Most tutorials suggest PVC piping. The purpose of the pipe is to deliver water directly into the reservoir, but it’s okay to water from above too, as rain would. A wide PVC pipe also shows you the water level in the bottom so you can see if you need to add more. My hose won’t help with this and truth be told might be difficult to water into. If it really becomes a problem I’ll go get a proper pipe and replace it.

cheap self watering planter

I wrapped the bottom end of the hose with a piece of an old sock to avoid it clogging with particles of charcoal, rocks or soil.

cheap self watering planter

cheap self watering planter

Then I placed a layer of material over the reservoir. The purpose of this is twofold: to keep the soil separate to the reservoir and to help wick the water from below to the soil above. I used an old reusable shopping bag that I cut to open, and then a hessian sack overtop to fill any gaps and help with the wicking action.

upcycle reusable bag

cheap self watering planter

cheap self watering planter

Finally, the fun part – plants! I added the soil and my seedlings. In this case, sugar snap peas, lettuce, lemon thyme and basil. Most tutorials advise to water through the watering pipe until water flows out of the 
outflow, but it’s been so rainy that I didn’t bother and simply gave the transplants a little drink from above. I hope some of these will grow enough that I can bring cuttings to the crop swap I’m organising in November.

cheap self watering planter

cheap self watering planter

cheap self watering planter

cheap self watering planter

It was a fun outdoor project for the brief moments of sun we had this weekend. It’s been a long winter without much garden time and I’m happy to be back picking dirt from under my fingernails. I’m no expert. I don’t know if this will work as hoped. Surely it’ll work better than my dried out beds of the past and help me keep my plants alive when I’m out of town for stretches at a time. I’ll let you know when I’ve had a chance to test it through the hot spells to come.

One final note for us apartment gardeners dependent on bagged soil. Redcycle will accept clean, dry soil bags cut into smaller squares, and seedling containers can be reused or recycled. Check with your local council or nursery about the best drop off point.

Does the Cora Ball capture plastic microfibres?

Cora Ball microfibre

A couple of years ago, a Kickstarter project caught my attention. It was shared on social media by someone I know who works for a leading organisation studying marine plastic pollution. I helped crowdfund the project and have been using the Cora Ball for about seven months in my front loading washing machine.

Microfibre pollution happens when agitation in the wash loosens very small fibres from clothing. Out they travel with the waste water into sewer systems and then waterways. If you guessed that there is no filter as small as a plastic microbead or filament, you’d be right. Microplastics are contaminating waterways, and to someone who enjoys eating shellfish and not destroying our special places, it’s sobering news.

Plastic microbeads from personal care products are arguably simpler to tackle. You can use microbead-free alternatives, petition producers to get the microplastics out of their formulations, and support legislative bans. But fibres from textiles are tricky. We can’t simply stop washing our clothes.

So what are we to do in the face of this disaster? The Guppy Friend, a sack to wash clothes in, has emerged as one potential solution. The Cora Ball is another. It’s a ball designed to go into the washing machine with clothing, where the arms are mean to capture plastic fuzz. The design is inspired by the filtering system of coral reefs. The inventor has even participated in studies of microfibre discharge into waterways in the US. The Kickstarter campaign was overwhelmingly successful.

The Coraball’s simplicity of use appealed to me. Toss it into the washing machine and then extract the plastic fluff that collects between the arms. It sounded simpler than stuffing and unstuffing the Guppy Friend. I also figured that once I realise my dream of dog ownership, it’d collect dog hair too. Heck, it would be great if it collected my hair, which mostly balls up on my socks in the wash. In my excitement about this possible solution, I pre-ordered three balls as part of the Kickstarter campaign. One for me and two more for family members who’d expressed interest.

Does the Cora Ball work to capture microfibres? Here’s my experience.

I have been using the Cora Ball for approximately seven months and it doesn’t collect much from any wash, including loads of synthetic clothing. We don’t have any microfleece or loose pile synthetics. Most of our synthetics are bike and yoga garb made of lycra or similar. It doesn’t collect more than a few strands of my long hair, which I still sometimes find balled up on my socks after washing. I don’t have a dog yet either (sob), so I can’t comment on its ability to catch pet hair.

Cora Ball microfibre

In the entire time I have used the Cora Ball, I’ve cleaned out fuzz twice. One load produced a noticeable amount of white fluff. I couldn’t figure out what garment was responsible. I was reassuring in a way to know that it could work. The fluff took a few minutes to remove with tweezers.

Cora Ball microfibre

Just before writing this, I removed this second pile of fluff. This is the accumulated amount of fibres since the earlier white fluff batch.

So in seven months, I’ve diverted two small fluff balls of microfibres from being discharged. Is this enough? What did I expect anyway?

Cora Ball microfibre

In truth, I’m having a hard time justifying the production of the ball (at least it’s made of recycled plastic) plus the shipping to get it from the USA, when I reconcile with how infrequently I’m removing fibres from the wash. The breakeven point is many years away, if ever, and it’s only spec’d to last five years. One of the circle end bits has already broken off.

I asked one of the people I’d given a ball to if they’ve had much success. He told me they’re not even using it. I don’t know what that tells me except that ease is relative.

Based on my own experience so far, I don’t recommend the Cora Ball as a solution for catching microfibres. I on the fence about the net benefit, and whether this is the best available solution. It captures some fuzz, but of course, my testing has no control. What if the friction of the ball creates more microfibre release? I would appreciate if the data from tests carried out by the company were made public, as I find the responses on their website to be vague in response to concerns like these.

One ultra low tech idea I’ve had is to wrap a nut milk bag (made of tight nylon mesh) around the end of the washing machine discharge hose to capture fibres on their way out. A similar idea to those nets on the ends of storm sewers that capture plastic bottles before they get out into the ocean. If I get around to trying this, I’ll let you know if it works. In the meantime, I’ll keep using the Cora Ball, if only to contribute to the knowledge base around this device and to see how long it will really last.

I’m interested to hear from any of you who’ve used the Cora Ball with different results to mine. Maybe you’ve had a completely different outcome with a top loading machine, plenty of fleece wear or pets, all factors I’d expect to increase the fuzz accumulation. I’m also interested to hear from any of you who have tried the Guppy Friend. Let me know in the comments.