As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, it’s difficult to think about anything else – but we must. When the virus is contained, herd immunity reached, medications and a vaccine developed, we’ll still be face-to-face with the enormous global challenges we were facing before “novel coronavirus” was a term we used daily.

As impact investors at DGI, we’re especially concerned about plastic pollution – in the oceans, the rivers, our drinking water and our food. To address this crisis, DGI is partnering with zNano WaterTech on a solution. zNano is a company that makes custom filters using patented technology to remove plastics from water.  Sounds simple, but creating the coatings for these filters is a complex and ever-evolving science and that’s where the scientists at zNano excel. We’re working with them to design a filter for commercial washing machines to tackle one form of plastic pollution at its source.

It turns out that polyester, nylon, acrylic and other synthetic fibers – all forms of plastic – now make up about 60 percent of the material in our clothes. When these clothes are washed, plastic fibers so small we can’t see them leach into the rinse water and then the environment. Once they enter the ocean’s food chains, these plastic particles come back indoors and end up on our dinner plates. The filter we’re working on can capture up to 99 percent of the plastic particles from laundry water. We’re washing the water clean!