Filtered by nature

This biodegradable purifier harnesses natural materials to clean the air in your home or office

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 14 February 2022

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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This article first appeared in our ‘Love is all we need’ issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 14 February 2022. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Fresher, more natural air can help to improve concentration, mood, cognitive function and respiratory function.

For most of us, the idea of getting ‘fresh’ air into the home means opening a window – but this can actually make the problem worse.

Exhaust fumes, smells and potential allergens are just some of the airborne pollutants that can drift into your home from outside.

Air purifiers treat and cleanse the air in your home instead of replacing it with aerosols that are potentially more dangerous.

A purifier in your bedroom will help you sleep better; if it’s in your kitchen, it will mop up all manner of VOCs that are dispersed into the home after cooking.

The plastics problem

The problem with traditional air purifier machines and HEPA filters is that they are extremely plastic heavy.

Fibreglass is used in the filter material itself, and on the outside they are moulded around a plastic shell, which can often include things like plastic catches, springs and locks.

‘15 million of these used plastic filters are sent to landfill every year’, says James Whitfield, co-founder and managing director at briiv. ‘That’s equivalent to 6,000 tonnes of a non-biodegradable material that will be with us for millennia.’

Filters for the briiv air purifier aren’t made, they’re grown; they don’t require massive amounts of energy and resources to create and acquire, which James says makes briiv ‘far and away the greenest producer in this industry.’

‘In stark contrast to every other air purifier and filter on the market today, the body of the briiv air filter biodegrades naturally’, James explains.

‘The unit is made of 100% bioplastic derived from elephant grass, which can take up to six years to fully biodegrade. Unlike plastics, which take far longer to break down and leave a trail of microplastics in our soil, air and water, bioplastics degrade into something the soil can actually use again.’

Natural air filtration

The briiv cleans the air by pulling it through a series of extremely fine nets and three layers of natural, fully biodegradable filter made from moss, coconut, carbon and silk.

The inherent structure of the moss – a lichen commonly (and confusingly) called ‘reindeer moss’ – has been found to naturally absorb particles such as allergens and other pollutants.

The coir fibres are reconstituted from the waste produced by other industries that use coconut material.

Activated carbon is famed for its powers to absorb VOCs and other harmful pollutants. ‘We fabricate this material and we have engineered a bespoke method of blending it with peace silk to create an ultra-fine filtration layer with a great surface area and incredible capture properties.’

The result is extremely beautiful and also incredibly effective, as each of briiv’s filter layers targets particles of different sizes.

The moss material is great at picking up pollen, dander and other allergens while the coir can collect particles like mould spores and bacteria. The bespoke Silk Matrix filter can capture particle sizes down to 0.3 microns, which includes harmful fine dust and larger viruses.

‘Viruses are a tough subject for air purifiers in general’, James acknowledges. ‘They can differ vastly in size, with some too small for even the most effective pure HEPA filters to absorb. Coronaviruses for example generally range from 0.1 to 0.5 microns; with Covid-19, the common consensus is that the virus size is about 0.125 microns. Any air purifier maker would have to be very careful making promises about this as they have a responsibility to be transparent and truthful.’

Save money and energy

The briiv unit will improve the air quality in a 36m² (387ft²) living space in just one hour – though it is designed to sit near you and produce effects much faster.

‘In essence it can create a personal zone or draft of very high-quality air’, James explains.

It’s easy to keep the briiv close thanks to the 5v USB connection that powers the unit. This also makes the machine incredibly energy efficient: it costs just £2 a year to run. The unit cost is £299.99 and replacement filter packs, at £35 per year, are among the cheapest in the world.

‘These factors give briiv the lowest five-year calculated cost of any available air purifier’, James tells us. ‘Air purifiers from some well-known brands will cost you up to £970.89 over five years.’

This is only the beginning for briiv, as James already has an exciting new version of briiv in the works as well as green innovations that will offer sustainable alternatives to other home appliances.

We can’t wait to see what the company comes up with next.

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