As microplastics are taking over our oceans – this Startup provides a solution

Did you know that around one billion pieces of microplastics is flushed into the sea every hour? And that one source to this waste is from washing our clothes? And that fish can mistake this microplastic for food – meaning that this plastic can end back on our dinner table?

This week I’ve spoken to Mimbly, a Swedish Startup that has created an innovative solution to avoid microplastics from our clothes ending up in the sea. And who questions the need to use drinkable water to wash our stuff. Mimbly’s mission is to create sustainable water solutions.

I sat down to speak with CTO of Mimbly, Nicolas Maxant, to understand why Mimbly was started, to learn more about what they do and the people behind the Startup

The problem

To my question on why Mimbly’s was started, Nicolas reflects on environmental concerns and the desire to change things.

“Sustainability. The fact that we are not there today. The way the world works. The way we consume. There needs to be people taking care of this. Water is completely overused. 2/3 of global water consumption goes to agriculture while the remaining part is used by industry and households. In households laundry consumes a lot of water and the water is often only used once. A resource we need to survive. We use drinkable water to wash the toilet.”

Source: Mimbly

The team behind the Startup realized that they could do something, and asked themselves: Do we really need drinkable water to wash our stuff?

The solution?

“Mimbly works around water at large. The Mimbox contributes to reducing water and energy usage and helps avoid plastics pollution. The Mimbox connects to the washing machine and recycles the water used in a wash. The water used in a wash goes into the Mimbox and is put back into the washing machine if the quality of the water is good enough.”

Is this hygienic you might ask yourself? Nicolas explains that the Mimbox filters and detects the purity of the water coming out. By analysing the water with different sensors, the water quality can be assessed.

“If the water complies with the purity standards it’s used again. The number of times the water can be re-used depends on the type of wash. Between 50-90 % of the water is recycled. And since the water is already warm the solution can also lead to energy savings.“

A key feature of the Mimbox, which is the filtering of microplastics, was not part of the initial concept. The water purification required for re-utilisation of the water required filtering of the microfibers from the water. The team realised that this filtering could help address another key concern of today – microplastics ending in the sea.

The team

Mimbly was originally a student project started by Isabella Palmgren (CEO) and Daniel Colunga at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. Nicolas Maxant (CTO) and Emil Vestman (CDO) jumped on board in June last year, Nicolas explains.

“The company is today 1 year old. We are currently a team of three, from Sweden and France. In Mimbly we believe in the value of diversity, and that having people with different background is one of the strengths of our team.”

Key milestones in your journey so far?

“The building of a prototype. Realizing it’s possible: We have a prototype! And, being part of the IKEA bootcamp last year as the only participant from Sweden. Realizing that large companies believe in what we do and having access to anyone was a great experience. It also gave us amazing perspectives on the consumer market. We are for the moment more focused on the professional market.”

Source: Mimbly

The 3 main ways Mimbly contributes to solving global concerns (SDGs and Paris Agreement)?
  • SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure – A connectivity device allowing data to be recorded on water consumption and sent by the cloud
  • SDG 14: Life below water – reducing microplastics
  • Paris Agreement – reducing energy consumption”
Where do you see Mimbly in the coming years?

 “The objective of Mimbly is to establish ourselves in the professional and consumer market globally. We are now mainly working on iterations of our prototype and on product development. And we also want to talk more also with the consumer market.”

If you would recommend me to interview another Startup/entrepreneur for this blog – who would it be and why?

 Aquarobur as they have a technology complementary to ours addressing water losses on the journey from the water suppliers to the end users.”

 I look forward to following Mimbly in the coming years !

Related external sources: Plastic pollution: how humans are turning the world into plastic

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