Central New York, Consumer, Technology

SU Student’s Invention Brings a Simple Solution to a Big Probelm

Charles Keppler and his invention, FibreFree. Copyright Brendan Mortensen 2017

Listen here to see what else Charlie has to say about his invention, FibreFree

By Brendan Mortensen SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Syracuse University’s Charles Keppler is the co-inventor of FibreFree, a microfiber trapping device. About 70% of clothes are produced with materials containing synthetic fibers, such as polyester and nylon. When these clothes are washed, they shed tiny pieces of themselves, which are microfibers. The plastic microfibers get washed down the drain and go into our waterways, ecosystems, and oceans.

“I think it’s more important to understand the problem before you can really appreciate the solution,” Keppler said. “Everyone is washing synthetic fibers. With every wash, hundreds of thousands of fibers get released into the drain. It’s really becoming a terrible problem.”

FibreFree offers a simple solution. By throwing this small laundry ball into the washing machine with your clothes, the filter inside catches around 40% of the fibers in the water. You can even throw it in the dryer too, where FibreFree fluffs up your clothes and decreases drying time.

“We designed FibreFree to be a total laundry solution,” Keppler said. “A device that allows people to make an impact without really needing to change too much of their routine,” he added.

Keppler estimates that if 1 in 10 American households were to use FibreFree, we could spare the oceans of the equivalent of 35 million plastic bottles worth of yearly pollution.

He and his co-inventor, Serena Omo-Lamai, were selected into the Top 20 of all international submissions for the James Dyson Award, which you can find at https://jamesdysonaward.org/projects/fibrefree/ They will hear about the results this week.