Students' microfibre fix wins big at North American Youth Innovation Challenge

Thursday, July 12, 2018

CEC logoThe Faculty of Environment is proud to announce that two of our students have won funding from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) as part of the The Youth Innovation Challenge. 

Lauren Smith of SERS and Nicole Balliston represented Canada with their project: Stop eating your dirty laundry - Our solution to microplastic pollution.

Selected from over 200 participants, the winners whose company, called PolyGone Technologies, will present their groundbreaking ideas to CEC Council and receive C$5,000 in seed funding.

The award earned the duo a personalized congratulation from Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change. 

More about PolyGone from the CEC website:

"Microplastic pollution is a growing problem, gaining attention through bans on microbeads and straws, yet little has been done about the largest contributor, microfibres. These tiny, plastic threads are released during the washing of synthetic textiles (such as polyester or fleece, spandex, nylon, and more) and pollute waterways around the world. Chemicals such as pesticides, PCBs, BPA, and persistent organic pollutants stick to these plastics and increase in concentration as they move up the food chain. These contaminants have been linked to developmental delays, diabetes, and cancers. Not only are these toxin-coated plastics harming sea life, but microfibres have been found in 83% of the world's tap water, as well as in bottled water, honey, salt, and beer. We are all consuming some really dirty laundry.

PolyGone Technologies is developing products that capture microfibres before their release and before they enter our food and beverage. PolyGone Sheets can be tossed into the washing machine with your laundry, easily cleaned, and reused. PolyGone Filters are filter attachments designed for the washing machine or other industries. We hope that this filter can even be installed at the washing machine manufacturer, making it even easier for the average person to prevent the release of microfibres. Industrial applications include wastewater treatment, drinking water filtration, beverage processing, or aquaculture. These filters will be customized to the given business' needs."

The Youth Innovation Challenge was held ahead of the 2018 CEC Council Session, taking place on June 26-27 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. Be sure to tune in to our live webcast on June 27 at 4 p.m. (Central Time), as the winners present their projects to North America’s top environmental officials.

  1. 2018 (5)
    1. July (1)
    2. May (1)
    3. April (1)
    4. January (2)
  2. 2017 (10)
    1. December (1)
    2. November (1)
    3. September (2)
    4. June (1)
    5. May (2)
    6. April (1)
    7. March (1)
    8. February (1)
  3. 2016 (17)
    1. November (2)
    2. September (1)
    3. August (1)
    4. July (1)
    5. May (1)
    6. April (3)
    7. March (1)
    8. February (4)
    9. January (3)
  4. 2015 (24)
  5. 2014 (9)
  6. 2013 (11)
  7. 2012 (4)
  8. 2011 (11)