• cantorkaygreenwald

Be happy - it's Adar!

Happy Adar! Jewish tradition teaches that, the Hebrew month of Adar is meant to be a month filled with joy. As we look toward Purim, and – just maybe – begin to see the light at the end of this year-long COVID-19 tunnel, it feels like we might begin to rejoice again. The equinox is only 5 weeks away, the days are getting longer, and the great outdoors will soon beckon.

Life in the Greenwald household has been crazy and busy – as has been true for almost all of us over this past year. Like many of you, we have lost people we love, we have dealt with family trials and tribulations, and we have been socially isolated. Sadly, writing this blog had to take a backseat to other responsibilities. I think, however, that some of those other obligations are reaching a manageable point - so I am re-taking up my “pen,” and I hope to soon be back to my once/month blog posting schedule. While I have not been writing over the last several months, I have continued to try out a number of plastic-free products, as well as products that keep plastics out of our water and landfills. I hope to catch you up over the next few months!

But - back to Adar and finding moments of joy. One way that we each find joy is by increasing the joy of others. We can do that by helping others, even with the smallest gestures. At my congregation, for our Purim tzedakah (justice) project, we often collect packages of new underwear and socks for people experiencing homelessness and living in shelters. Good, clean underwear is often in short supply among those experiencing homelessness. A donation of underwear can bring simple joy into the lives of that community.

Joy and underwear – that seems like an odd combination. Yet, knowing that we might have made a positive difference in someone’s life can bring us our own sense of warmth and joy.

Similarly, I feel joy when I am able to help our planet. So, I find myself thinking about laundry again. Like so much of what we wear, our socks and underwear likely contain synthetic fabrics, which shed microfibers as we wash them.

Since I last wrote about microfibers, I have stopped using my Guppy bags and Coraballs. They are still great ways to capture microfibers in your wash. But, I’ve been experimenting with another option: a simple water filtration system attached to my washing machine. There are several filtration systems available. I chose to try this one:

How my filter looked when it was brand new

A Filtrol microfiber filter hooks up to your washing machine draining hose. The water from the machine goes through the filter, which has a bag that captures microfibers.

How my filter looks after a few weeks of laundry!

There is another hose at the bottom of the Filtrol filter that carries the microfiber free water out the drain that connects to your sewer system. Every few weeks, you open the Filtrol filter, remove the bag and clean it out by hand (don’t rinse it – that just puts the microfibers back into the water), and then reconnect it again.

I have been using the Filtrol filter for about 3 months now. It has greatly simplified my laundry routine, and I am very happy about that! I have found that it can be difficult to remove the top of the filter when it is time to clean out the filter bag – and that is somewhat annoying. You also need space above your washing machine, with a wall stud nearby, in order to hang up the filter. Finally, the Filtrol filter is on the expensive side. For all of these reasons, the Filtrol filter will not be a good solution for everyone. (All of that being said, I love mine.)

The clothing company Reformation, which makes sustainable clothing and is the owner of the Girlfriend Collective line of sportswear (made from recycled plastic bottles!) also makes a washing machine filter that is much less expensive than the Filtrol filter. I purchased one of these filters, but due to the configuration of my washer and dryer, this filter was not a good solution for me - but - it could be a good solution for you. Check it out:

There is also the Planetcare filter, which uses replaceable cartridges. I have not checked this filter out personally, but it does receive good reviews:

I have not tried this filter out either:

It also receives good reviews and has been tested in the scientific study referred to below.

If you want to stick with your Coraball, however, no worries! According to this study:

the Coraball is highly effective at removing microfibers from your laundry, that would otherwise drain out into the water system.

One small step – right?

Wishing you as much joy and laughter as possible this coming Purim – and may our laundry chores be completed with gratitude for what we have, and responsibility for this planet we cherish.


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