Global Lint

Global Lint: A reusable solution to clean Oceans

The idea of Global Lint was formed through participating in Girbau’s iDrivers program, which launched and provided a platform for employees to broaden their creativity and come up with ideas about new business opportunities, based on their expertise. Participants of the program are employees of the Girbau Group around the world.

Girbau challenged them to bring innovation within the laundromat segment and to create new revenue streams for both owners and customers. During the brainstorming stage, they realized there was a by-product created during the laundry process, lint, that was being discarded in mass quantities across the globe and amongst thousands of vended stores and industrial plants that were daily using Girbau equipment. According to our calculations, a medium-size laundry disposes of 45 to 70 kg of lint every week.

Girbau’s entrepreneurs knew that there could be a use for this material, not only to create additional revenue streams and remove waste, but also to make a much more positive impact on the environment and global health. Our oceans are estimated to contain more than 30,000 tons of microplastics, according to Our World in Data, with a quick increase of 8,000 tons per year.

This is how the idea of Global Lint came to life.

Once they realized the magnitude of absorbent properties contained in lint, they considered how to use this product to improve the health of oceans and water around the planet, knowing that there are many harmful products, such as chemical dispersants, plastic booms or chemical stabilizers, or other methods that are not able to remove thinner surfaces of oil, such as skimmers.

A test of lint in water confirmed the hypothesis that it had the potential to replace the use of plastic as an oil absorbent.

Then, they began testing lint in water to confirm the hypothesis that it actually has the potential to replace the use of plastic as an oil absorbent, and finding a meaningful use for this material, currently a waste product from the laundry industry.

Aware of the global footprint that Girbau had, and of the strategic interest there is in environmental health, they knew they could bring this idea to life on a large scale, while focusing primarily on these industrial plants.

Waiting for a utility patent, looking for partners

Currently, after the approval by the Girbau Innovation Committee, the project is entering a second phase. Global Lint is in the process of obtaining a utility patent of the solution to further explore the ability to partner with both laundry plant owners and oil manufacturers around the world, in order to offer an alternative solution to the use of plastic to clean oceans and seas.

Kylie Otterstatter

Sergi Obiols

Girbau entrepreneurs are incredibly thankful to the iDrivers program, which provided them with the opportunity to creatively think, share and work together with other Girbau’s colleagues, and to see their ideas come to life.