Microplastic Removal from Drinking Water Using Point-of-Use Devices

Researchers assess various filters in their efficacy of removing microplastics from drinking water. Point-of-use water filters were found to be most effective at removing microplastics when they were made with a physical filter membrane compared to activated carbon and ion exchange.

Abstract: The occurrence of microplastics in drinking water has drawn increasing attention due to their ubiquity and unresolved implications regarding human health. Despite achieving high reduction efficiencies (70 to >90%) at conventional drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs), microplastics remain. Since human consumption represents a small portion of typical household water use, point-of-use (POU) water treatment devices may provide the additional removal of microplastics (MPs) prior to consumption. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of commonly used pour-through POU devices, including those that utilize combinations of granular activated carbon (GAC), ion exchange (IX), and microfiltration (MF), with respect to MP removal. Treated drinking water was spiked with polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) fragments, along with nylon fibers representing a range of particle sizes (30–1000 µm) at concentrations of 36–64 particles/L. Samples were collected from each POU device following 25, 50, 75, 100 and 125% increases in the manufacturer’s rated treatment capacity, and subsequently analyzed via microscopy to determine their removal efficiency. Two POU devices that incorporate MF technologies exhibited 78–86% and 94–100% removal values for PVC and PET fragments, respectively, whereas one device that only incorporates GAC and IX resulted in a greater number of particles in its effluent when compared to the influent. When comparing the two devices that incorporate membranes, the device with the smaller nominal pore size (0.2 µm vs. ≥1 µm) exhibited the best performance. These findings suggest that POU devices that incorporate physical treatment barriers, including membrane filtration, may be optimal for MP removal (if desired) from drinking water.

Learn how to repair, donate, and shop second-hand household items with Reuse DC, a platform that helps foster and facilitate reuse, repair, sharing, and other zero-waste behaviors and habits. Reuse DC is the District’s hub for learning where to repair, donate, and shop second-hand household items. Search the online directory, explore how to exchange items with your neighbors, learn about the importance of food recovery, and more!

GAIA’s flagship climate report (released October 4, 2022) provides the most current, comprehensive research on how zero waste is an essential climate solution. Through the publication of this report alongside supplementary communications and advocacy materials, GAIA aims to support member-driven zero waste campaigns in your communities to give decisionmakers clear and decisive information on why they should invest in zero waste as a way to reduce climate emissions and build a just transition to a more climate-resilient future, providing a host of social, environmental, and economic benefits. 

The report contains four parts: 

  • Zero waste and climate mitigation: How zero waste is a critical strategy to hit GHG reduction targets 
  • Zero waste and climate adaptation: How zero waste helps cities become more resilient in the face of accelerating climate disasters
  • Co-benefits: How zero waste can bring about a just transition to more and better green jobs, reduce poverty, strengthen local economies and more
  • Case studies: A calculation of how many GHG emissions savings cities around the world could achieve if they were to adopt a slate of zero waste strategies

A practical guide to help business leaders identify circular opportunities and design business models that create, deliver and capture value. Focused on the circular economy, this guide provides steps and templates for businesses to navigate opportunities to minimize waste and maximize value. Created by PA Consulting in conjunction with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and University of Exeter.

In this TED Talk, author and plastic-free advocate Beth Terry speaks about her journey to live a plastic free life. She holds up a bag of all the waste she has generated in the last year – less than 2 pounds! She uses herself as an example of how to change your life to reduce your plastic waste!

There have been plenty of anti-consumerism campaigns, but none quite as sustained as Jen Gale’s. In this TED Talk, Jen discusses how her year of ‘Make Do and Mend’ is seeing her buying nothing new, and leaping head first into recycling, repurposing, begging, and borrowing. She is keeping a blog of the experience to inspire others to try the same thing.