Sarah Beth Gleeson

Sarah Beth Gleeson
CTO of Baleena, Pennsylvania

“At Baleena, our vision is to build a world without microplastic pollution. We do that by reducing microplastics in the fashion supply chain.

Microfiber pollution accounts for ~35% of microplastics in the oceans. Every time we wash our synthetic clothing, these tiny but harmful microplastic fibers are released, making their way into our oceans, contaminating seafood sources, and even finding their way back into our drinking water. Microplastics leach plastic additives and adsorb contaminants from their surrounding environments and ingestion of these particles can be toxic to both marine animals and humans.

At Baleena, we are very interested in developing advanced filtration systems in washing machines and wastewater treatment plants to capture microplastics before they enter water bodies. With that, regulations and standards need to be developed. Material innovation is also necessary, developing and adopting alternative materials to synthetic fibers that shed microplastics, such as natural, regionally grown fibers like cotton, wool, and hemp, or innovative bio-based or recycled materials. When it comes to clothing design, designing garments with longevity in mind, focusing on durability and quality to reduce the frequency of clothing disposal and therefore microplastic release. Finally, it all ties by to the consumer: we value educating consumers about the impact of microplastics and encouraging responsible garment care practices, such as using cold water and gentle detergents, and considering the purchase of clothes made from less shedding materials.”

You can see Sarah Beth Gleeson and her co-founders on Forbes 30 Under 30 2024 Energy list.


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