Paris (AFP)

Secretary of State for the Ecological Transition, Brune Poirson, brings together washing machine manufacturers on Monday to prepare for the application of a measure adopted in the law for the circular economy: the installation of plastic microfiber filters in new washing machines.

As of January 1, 2025, new washing machines must be fitted with these filters, which are intended to prevent the passage through microwaves of microscopic plastic fibers released by clothing during washing, it was explained to Ministry of Ecological Transition.

"Washing machine manufacturers will have to innovate to adapt to this new standard," said Brune Poirson.

The plastics used in the clothing industry (polyester, acrylic, elastane) release particles in the washing process which are too small to be filtered in treatment plants, and are found in the environment and especially in the oceans.

Microplastics represent between 15% and 31% of the 9.5 million tonnes of plastics dumped each year at sea, according to figures from the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

France is the first country in the world to legislate on this source of plastic pollution, by imposing to equip washing machines with microplastic filters by 2025.

By bringing together the industrialists of the sector, as well as carriers of technological solutions of filters and NGOs, Brune Poirson wants to establish a roadmap allowing to reach the fixed objective.

The Secretary of State wants to encourage manufacturers to integrate the filters into their devices as soon as possible, which would allow them to obtain an environmental bonus if they do so before 2025.

The measure "places France at the forefront of the fight against pollution with microplastics and innovation for the ecological transition", said Brune Poirson who wants inventors and researchers to see France "as a laboratory for large-scale solutions ".

Some 2.7 million washing machines are sold in France each year, or more than 7,000 per day, according to figures from Gifam, the professional federation of the sector. Over 97% of French households are equipped with a washing machine.

In addition to households, there are 5,900 professional establishments in France which use washing machines (laundries and laundries).

© 2020 AFP