New Washing Machine Uses Plastic Chips Instead of Water

Clothes Line

A washing machine that cleans clothes by pounding them with plastic chips could save billions of gallons of water a year, its inventors claim. The Xeros uses less than 2 per cent of the water – and energy – of a conventional model and leaves clothes almost dry, doing away with the need for a dryer. The machine uses thousands of reusable plastic chips to remove and absorb dirt. Tests have shown the machine can shift virtually all types of everyday stains, according to a team at Leeds University.

Professor Stephen Burkinshaw, who invented the machine – which uses one cup of water each cycle – said: “The performance of the Xeros process in cleaning clothes has been quite astonishing.

“We’ve shown that it can remove all sorts of everyday stains including coffee and lipstick while using a tiny fraction of the water used by conventional machines.”

About 20kg of the chips are added, along with a cup of water and detergent. The chips can be used up to 100 times, the equivalent of six months’ washing.

Xeros Ltd, the company developing and marketing the machine, believes it could be on the UK market as early as 2009 and expects it to be used in the washing and dry-cleaning industries.

15 thoughts on “New Washing Machine Uses Plastic Chips Instead of Water”

  1. Chicos/chicas de España, no estais teniendo en cuenta que producir plásticos tambien requiere agua, aparte de producir gases tóxicos.
    De modo que el ahorro real de agua podría ser no tan grande.

    Además, decir que preferis usar y tirar plástico en vez de ahorrar agua no es ver las cosas a la larga – vais a dejar que vuestros hijos o nietos “ya se ocupen” de toda la basura de plástico que este inventito podría causar?

    Mejor intentad ser un poco más escépticos…

    (Los biodiesels tambien sonaban geniales cuando salieron, y luego resultó que a cambio gente no puede comer. Hay que pensarse un poco mejor las cosas.)

  2. Suprised nobody asked this question, but how would you remove the platic from the cloths after?….sounds like a mess of having to pick up thousands of plastic whatever they are on the floor after.

  3. In addition to the disposal problem… how much energy does it take to make all those plastic chips in the first place? And what nasty, polluting processes are involved in doing it?

  4. Very interesting.

    If the economics don’t work, sustainable efforts won’t either.
    Check, a blog about innovative entrepreneurs that make money selling recycled items, provide green services or help us reduce our dependency on non renewable resources. These include some very cool Green online ventures, great new technologies, startups and investments opportunities.

  5. There are a lot of unanswered questions when it comes to this machine. Either they intentionally left out the information or they jumped the gun when revealing their invention.

    Something seems wishy washy with this washing machine story. 🙂

  6. sorry by 44 lbs of plastic chips (small bits) being thrown away into the environment every 6 months, per household is probably worse than all the water used in traditional washing . Unless this plastic is easily recyclable then this invention makes no sense. Plus even if it is recyclable, most people will simply throw it in the garbage. The “Great Pacific Garbage patch ” is the size of Africa already. This area is littered with millions of tones of plastics that don’t biodegrade. Sorry but more plastic is not the answer, make the stuff from corn so at least it would decompose over time.

  7. I think how tonio.

    In Spain (Europe) we have an important problem with the needed of water. Before this weather days (with lots of rain) we have a very seriosly problem and several restrictions in many regions.

    In our region/country the save of water is (possibly) more important than 20kg of plastic. So the viability in my region (over environment contamination) I supose is most than other regions. But we don’t know (or I didn’t see) yet how it works or the reaction of the population about new-style washing machines.

    (Sorry for my English)

  8. I am a little skeptical of this machine. Would the plastic ruin the finish on the clothes? If I can’t get stain out with handscrubbing, I can’t see how this plastic pounding could work. I have to agree with Geo about the plastic issue.

    Plus, how does it work? Do you use a dot of detergent?? Lots of questions.

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