NAGANO – Scientists in Japan say they’ve found a way to separate synthetic textile microfibres and other microplastics from solution using sound waves – opening up the possibility of retrofitting these acoustic devices on to washing machines and in laundries.

Designed by researchers at Shinshu University, the acoustic filtration technique uses a piezoelectric device to convert electrical energy into mechanical vibrations, which in turn produces sound waves that separate out nylon and polyester microfibres and other plastic particles in solution.

Currently, textile microfibres and other synthetic particles have been collected post-laundering by sieving and filtration methods.