Turkish firm Arcelik, which makes Grundig, said the machine blocks 90 percent of the fibres. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

London - The first mass-production washing machine with a built-in mesh that filters out plastic microfibres has been unveiled.

The Grundig appliance stops hundreds of thousands of tiny fibres being discharged down drains – and eventually ending up in the sea – after every wash.

Turkish firm Arcelik, which makes Grundig, said the machine blocks 90 percent of the fibres.

A filtration box in the detergent drawer ‘cleans up’ the water before it goes into drains.

The Grundig machine, unveiled on Monday in Berlin, will go on sale next year but the firm has not yet disclosed the price.

Research has found microplastic fibres in the air we breathe, our food, the deepest parts of the ocean and the Antarctic.

Around 730 000 of the fibres are flushed down the drain after a single washing load, according to a Plymouth University study.

Some are filtered out at water treatment plants, but many are missed. Microfibres which end up in oceans are swallowed by fish and other marine creatures before finding their way into the food chain.

The move by Arcelik, which also makes the Beko brand of electrical products, comes amid huge public concern about plastic pollution in the environment.

Households currently have to fit an external filter to the washing machine waste pipe – or wash clothes inside a mesh bag – to stop the fibres escaping.

Arcelik boss Hakan Bulgurlu said the company, which operates in 146 countries, "made it our mission to do everything within our power to make a change as time is running out in the fight against environmental disasters – most importantly climate catastrophe".

"That’s why we believe ... reducing the environmental damage that we are causing as an industry is a key opportunity we should seize," he said. The company said it had also developed a washing machine tub out of recycled plastic bottles, a solar-powered refrigerator and a fridge made with biologically-based plastics.

Daily Mail