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Just how bad is the microplastic pollution problem?

Each year, millions of tons of plastics are dumped into our oceans, poisoning our ecosystem with microplastics. Microfibers, strands of plastic thread less than 5mm in length shed from our clothing, are one of the biggest microplastic polluters. Millions of microfibers are shed in washing machines from synthetic clothing. Once the microfibers are transported from our homes to water treatment plants along with the laundry wastewater, they inevitably are released into our ecosystem and make their way into our oceans.

Shockingly, hundreds of thousands of microplastics per year are ingested by humans mostly through contaminated food and water, yet little is being done. Microplastics were recently found in human blood and living lung tissues for the first time, but we are just beginning to understand the effects of this catastrophic problem on the planet and our personal and collective health.

It is critical to collect these microfibers before they enter the water wastestream, and as such, collecting microfibers within the washing machine can prevent them from ending up in our oceans.


Our Latest News & Updates

Penn Today

Winners of President’s Sustainability Prize are making a difference for people and the planet

Springboarded by University recognition and support, the alums behind the three prize-winning projects—Baleena, The Community Grocer, and Shinkei Systems—are realizing, even surpassing, their goals.

Mar 28, 2023

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5 Pennovation founders give startup advice

PCI Ventures hosted a showcase for Pennovation-affiliated companies. We asked a handful of their founders about their growth and challenges.

October 31, 2022

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Penn Today

Engineering a solution for microplastic pollution

Graduates Sarah Beth Gleeson, Shoshana Weintraub, and Julia Yan will use their President’s Sustainability Prize to create a device for trapping microfibers in laundry machines to reduce ocean microplastic pollution

June 8, 2022

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Meet your 2023 semi-finalists.

More than 100 entrepreneurial-minded students ventures pitched their ventures for a chance to compete in the 2023 ASU Innovation Open.

February 2, 2023

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Philadelphia Business Journal

Inno Under 25

Innovation is happening all around Greater Philadelphia. While that’s easy enough to see, what’s even more impressive are the young people behind some of the projects. Meet this year's class of Inno Under 25.

September 29, 2022

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Penn Today

Celebrating the newest President’s Engagement, Innovation, and Sustainability Prize winners

Interim President Wendell Pritchett noted at the luncheon how this year’s recipients represent the biggest cohort yet

May 5, 2022

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RealLIST Startups: Meet the 2023 class of most promising Philly tech companies

This year's top 10 startups and 10 runners-up are making waves in healthcare tech, analytics, gaming, environmental tech, education, workplace tech, fintech and entertainment.

January 24, 2023

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Hair scarves and sea life savers won big at Pennovation Accelerator’s 2022 pitch day

Ten founders shared their startups at the accelerator's fifth annual pitch event. Here's how it went down.

August 1, 2022

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Penn Today

Class of 2022 President’s Engagement, Innovation, and Sustainability Prize winners announced

Baleena was selected a winner of University of Pennsylvania's inaugural President's Sustainability Prize

April 20, 2022

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