Do You Know the Top 4 Causes of the World’s Water Pollution?

Water is the world’s most essential resource. But year after year, the water pollution crisis continues to worsen. Our actions are causing detrimental damage to all of the world’s water. Staying educated on the top causes of water pollution and how you can reduce your impact could help save lives and the planet. Here are the four leading causes of the world’s water pollution.

1. Agricultural 

Unsuspectingly, farms are one of the main contributors to water pollution due to a number of different factors. The sewage runoff from livestock infiltrates the groundwater and makes its way into local waterways, causing water toxicity. Fertilizers and pesticides from crops also cause pollutants to make their way into water systems, especially after flooding.

How you can help: Reducing the amount of meat you consume can help reduce the demand for livestock long-term. This will help with livestock waste and crop pollutants as more than 40% of the world’s grain is used to feed farm animals.

2. Sewage and Wastewater

The United Nations states that more than 80% of the world’s wastewater is put back into the environment without treatment. In some developing nations, that number is closer to 95%. This water is emptied into areas with fresh water, contaminating it and making it unusable.

How you can help: Reducing the amount of water you use daily can help lower the amount of wastewater that gets returned to freshwater sources. Try taking less frequent or shorter showers, installing rain barrels for gardening or plant care, or taking care of leaks.

3. Oil Spills

Oil pollution is more common than you might think. While it is often caused by oil drilling in the ocean, most oil pollution comes from inland factories, farms, and cities. Oil pollution makes drinking water unsafe and is detrimental to marine life.

How you can help: Ensure that your land and water vehicles are properly maintained so that oil leaks and fuel spills are less likely. You can also reduce the amount of gas and oil you use by investing in more sustainable forms of energy, such as solar panels, hybrid or electric cars, and household appliances that use less energy.

4. Ocean Dumping

Ocean dumping is the intentional disposal of waste or debris into seas and oceans from boats, air crafts, or other human platforms. Most items that are dumped into the water can take up to two hundred years to completely decompose, releasing contaminants such as microplastics and adversely affecting marine life.

How you can help: The old mandate to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle still stands strong. Reduce the amount of plastic you use and the waste you create. Reuse furniture, clothing, glass jars, and anything you can creatively think of! Recycle plastic, cans, paper, and batteries. You can also check with the producers of some of your favorite household items (like ScrubDaddy) – they might have recycling programs you could benefit from. 

Small steps toward sustainability today can make a big difference for tomorrow. At Filtrol, we are doing our part to help keep the world’s water clean by providing accessible laundry filtration systems to allow you to reduce microplastic pollution at home.

Why Coral Reefs are Dying and What You Can Do to Help

Oceans hold some of our world’s most beautiful habitats – coral reefs. Not only are they gorgeous sites to see, but they are also responsible for marine biodiversity and the overall health of ocean life. However, with continued plastic and chemical pollution, these coral reefs are in danger. 

Are Coral Reefs Dying?

In short…yes. While efforts are being made to revive these ocean habitats, coral reefs are declining at an alarming rate. Scientists estimate that 70-90% of the world’s coral reefs will disappear in the next 20 years—and could be completely gone by 2100. Reefs are responsible for supporting about 25% of all marine life. They also provide protective barriers to coastal communities, meaning there’s even more at stake. The main contributors to dying coral reefs are rising global temperatures, changes in water pH due to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and waste/plastic pollution. 

What is Being Done to Save Coral Reefs?

Scientists, marine advocates, and legislators are working hard to protect coral reefs from extinction. Through research, scientists are learning what is affecting the reefs so that we can create an action plan to help. Many marine biologists are also experimenting with planting lab-grown coral into suffering reefs to bring new life to the habitat. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency has lobbied to pass the Clean Water Act which regulates the disposal of harmful materials and chemicals into our waterways. 

What Can You Do to Help Protect Coral Reefs?

Eat More Plant-Based Foods

Food like meat, cheese, and milk that come from farm animals comes with a massive carbon footprint. While you don’t have to cut out meat completely, choosing a more plant-based diet can reduce your overall carbon footprint and reduce carbon dioxide pollution. 

Conserve Water 

When you shower, flush the toilet, or do the dishes, that wastewater eventually makes its way to our oceans. The less water you use—the less runoff and wastewater will pollute our oceans.

Install a Filtrol

Reduce microplastic pollution by installing a Filtrol Laundry Filter on your washing machine. You’ll reduce up to 89% of microfibers in your wastewater and allow more clean water to flow to the oceans.

Six Back to School Ideas for Packing a Plastic Free Lunch for Your Kids

Six Back to School Ideas for Packing a Plastic Free Lunch for Your Kids

Back-to-school is here for many Americans and right around the corner for the rest. School lunches contribute to 80% of the plastic that is not recycled each year. If you are looking for ways to help reduce your plastic waste while making your kids fun and nutritious lunches for the new school year, here are a few ideas to help you get started. 

Buy a Quality Lunch Box

It’s time to stop buying brown paper bags. The first step to a plastic-free lunch is to look for and purchase a quality, long-lasting lunch box. It might cost more upfront, but in the long run it will last longer, and be less likely to end up in a landfill down the road. Eco-friendly lunch boxes such as Planet Box are becoming more common and affordable and still offer fun designs your children will love.

Skip Single-Use Plastic Food and Drinks

In a market that favors convenience, there are a lot of single-packaged food and drinks that can make it easy for you or your kids to pack lunches for school. While going plastic-free might require more time and effort, it will ultimately contribute to a cleaner future for your children. Try buying foods in bulk and separating them out into smaller containers at the beginning of the week. Invite your kids to participate as an opportunity for a family activity and teach your kids the importance of reducing global plastic waste. 

Swap Plastic Sandwich and Snack Bags with Reusable Ones

There are so many alternatives available for plastic resealable bags. From resealable silicone pouches and velcro food-safe fabric containers to beeswax wraps, there is a variety of options to fit your preferences. So grab your carrot sticks and potato chips and head to school knowing you’re helping keep plastic out of landfills! 

Reusable Utensils and Napkins

Napkins are a must for school lunch—and every now and again you might need to send some utensils to school with your kid. Cloth napkins are affordable and easy to throw in the wash with other laundry items. You could even head to the fabric store and let your child choose a pattern they like and cut up squares with them to use as napkins for the year! These activities can help your child gain ownership over their items so that they’ll be more likely to take care of them. If you’re not fond of the idea of sending your nice utensils from home, purchase some bamboo or camping utensils to pack in the lunchbox. 

Remind Your Kids to Bring Everything Back

The hardest part might be reminding your kids to bring all of their eco-friendly items back home after the school day. Encourage them to keep everything in their lunch box and not throw anything away. The less plastic you use in their lunch, the less there will be to throw away—and the less likely that they’ll throw the reusable items in the garbage! 

Teaching kids the importance of reducing plastic waste and helping them to take ownership over their choices will help them form habits now that will benefit them and our planet. The bonus…you’ll start reducing waste now, which could impact the future world environment that your children will live in as adults. There is hope for the future of plastic waste and it can start with your family. 

The Plastic Problem: Plastic Pollution and its Threat to Wildlife

The Plastic Problem: Plastic Pollution and its Threat to Wildlife

Plastic waste is a growing issue as 85% or more of plastic consumed in the United States ends up in landfills. Not only that, but microplastics are being released into our ground and water from our washing machines, cleaning products, and larger plastics that break down but don’t disappear. We’ve talked about microplastic’s effects on the human body, but how does plastic pollution affect wildlife?

Plastic’s Effects on Marine Animals

About 11 million tons of plastic waste end up in our oceans yearly, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. We are currently on a trajectory for plastic waste and pollution to continue to increase over the next 20 years. It is predicted that our oceans and waterways will soon contain more plastic waste than fish, which has an adverse effect not only on their homes but also inside their bodies. 

Turtles, seabirds, and fish consume plastic, mistaking them for food and creating a deadly outcome due to choking or intestinal blockage. Plastics and microplastics also attract harmful chemicals that can cause sickness, disease, infertility, or even death when ingested. These microplastics and chemicals also make their way up the food chain affecting the other animals that might have otherwise avoided eating plastic. Eventually, this makes its way back into our human diets. While the effects of microplastics on the human body have not yet been revealed, we can be sure that we will suffer similar consequences to our marine friends. 

Plastic’s Effects on Land Animals

Like marine life, land animals often ingest plastic waste, choke, and have intestinal blockages. Cases of animal deaths due to plastic consumption have increased over the last several years and are expected to continue. 

Land animals have also often become entangled, entrapped, or impaled by plastic waste, causing detrimental harm to their bodies and overall wellbeing. It can impair their ability to walk, fly, hunt, forage for food, or even consume food altogether. 

Microplastics don’t just affect marine animals. They are leaching into the soil from local water sources and landfills and affecting vegetation and creatures that cultivate the ground. 

What Can I Do? 

While all of this information might feel pretty discouraging, there are action steps that we can all take today that will make a difference for tomorrow. We have the power to work together to save the ecosystem from the effects of our plastic pollution. Here are some ways you can make a difference: 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

You’ve heard it repeatedly, but it remains the simplest way to create less plastic waste. Reduce your plastic usage by buying reusable containers, avoiding single-use plastic items, and shopping sustainably. Reuse plastic bags and containers as much as possible so that fewer plastic items end up in the trash. And finally, recycle everything you can!

Get Involved with Environmental Organizations

Numerous organizations are already doing fantastic work to reduce plastic waste and educate others about the dangers of plastic pollution. Check out these seven awesome organizations protecting the oceans

Install a Filtrol

One load of laundry can produce thousands of microfibers (microplastics measuring 5mm or less). A one-time investment of a Filtrol washing machine filter can prevent up to 89% of microplastics from leaving your home and invading water sources. 

How You Can Help Improve the Environment in Your Community

There are so many ways that you can be an advocate for the environment. At Filtrol, we believe that starting with small changes, right where you are, is a great first step if you’re looking to improve the environment in your community. Here are some ways that you can be a champion for your local ecosystem.

Clean Up Litter

One simple way to make a difference is by picking up garbage around the neighborhood! Grab some gloves and a trash bag and head to your local park, walk down the streets, or engage your community by either organizing or joining cleanup crews in your areas with nonprofits like National Cleanup Day. Clean streets and neighborhoods mean we are saving waste from ending up in our water systems and eventually in our bodies.

Plant Trees 

Planting new trees in your neighborhood can help improve the air quality, reduce stormwater runoff, which creates erosion, and provide habitats for many species. If you aren’t able to plant trees in your own yard, team up with a friend, partner with organizations like Ecologi, or check with your local government entities to see if you can partner with them to plant trees in your community. 

Save the Bees

Bees are essential to the global ecosystem. They pollinate our crops, gardens, and the vegetation consumed by wildlife. Due to pesticides and environmental factors, the bee population is drastically declining. You can help them by planting bee-friendly gardens, reducing or eliminating pesticide usage, participating in “No Mow May,” or even becoming a beekeeper yourself! 

Reduce Plastic Usage

Recycling as much plastic as possible is a great start, but there are many ways that you can reduce your plastic waste altogether. Start by replacing single-use household items with multi-use items with these plastic alternatives

Install a Filtrol

Installing a Filtrol filter on your washing machine can reduce up to 89% of microfiber (microplastics measuring 5mm or smaller)  pollution from leaving your home. This prevents plastic pollution from seeping into the nearby groundwater and waterways. It keeps them out of the septic and sewer systems so that they don’t eventually find their way back into the water you drink, cook with, and bathe in. 

There’s a lot of work to do to conserve and protect our earth. Starting in your community to ensure that you, your family, and your neighbors are educated and engaged on environmental issues is an excellent start to making a lasting impact. 

What is Being Done to Bring Hope to the Future of Recycling?

You might have heard disappointing news about recycling over the last couple of years. After restrictions on exporting a portion of the USA’s recycling in 2018, our nation found itself with more recycling than we could process, and some of it ended up in landfills. The pandemic also set back many recycling facilities’ ability to process recycling materials creating an untimely setback. 

This unfortunate blow to the well-being of our environment caused many to feel overwhelmed and hopeless. But there are scientists, conservationists, and environmentalists working to reduce the amount of plastic we’re using and on new ways to deal with the massive amount of plastic waste we’re creating every day. 

So what is the future of recycling? Here are some hopeful developments in the world of plastics.

Federal, State, and City Policy Changes

The government has the power to enact policy that directly affects our plastic consumption. Many states and cities already restrict take-out containers, plastic bags and straws, and more. The federal government has also funded sustainable legislation such as the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act and the RECYCLE Act. You can look at the platforms of the candidates running for office in your area to see who supports these types of legislation. 

Circular Economy

In our current economy, we extract materials from the environment, use them to create new products, and then the majority of those products are disposed of. Even the materials that can be reused or recycled eventually end up in the landfill after a while. In a circular economy, the goods that are created are designed to be recycled back into the economy, creating an endless loop of materials that would eliminate the need to extract new materials. One of the ways this could be accomplished is through chemical recycling instead of mechanical recycling (our current system).

Chemical Recycling

Our current system of mechanical recycling only melts down the material to create a more brittle, less sustainable version that can only be reused 2-3 more times before it becomes waste. However, chemical recycling allows plastics to be chemically changed back into their original state and therefore be recycled endlessly. This process has been developed, and scientists are now working on how to scale it in a cost-effective way for production. 

You Have the Power to Make Change

Never underestimate the power of the consumer. The more you buy sustainable goods made out of recycled or compostable material, the more you are signaling to corporations that you value environmentally responsible products. When they see the demand for these products, they will continue to work toward creating better products for our earth, giving us even more options to reduce plastic waste and the need for recycling. 

When you’re feeling like the environment’s future looks bleak, and you ask yourself, “What is the future of recycling?”, rest assured that the processes are already underway and that you have the power to support and enact change starting today! 

4 Reasons Microplastics are Harming the Human Body

Plastic is a common part of our everyday life. Over the years, items that used to be made from glass, wood, and cotton have been replaced by plastic. At first, this made sense, plastic is cheap and easy to make and ultimately makes our day-to-day lives easier. However, single-use and non-recyclable plastic have stealthily infiltrated our homes and lives. Only 20% of plastics are recycled worldwide, and even less in the United States, where we recycle only 9% of plastics. 

You probably have heard about the effects of plastic pollution on the environment, oceans, and wildlife with mantras like “Save the Turtles” and “Protect the Oceans.” But have you ever asked yourself, “How is plastic pollution affecting humans?” 

How Plastic Pollution is Affecting the Human Body

It’s easy to think of plastic pollution in plastic bottles and shopping bags – those are the items we can see easily. But plastic pollution is also microscopic. Larger plastics break down into microplastics, and clothes made with synthetic plastic materials release thousands of microfibers (microplastics measuring 5mm or less) into our water systems with every load of laundry. Microplastics have been found in humans’ blood, lungs, and feces, bringing with them toxic chemicals that can be hazardous to our health. 

Microplastics Attract Toxins

These tiny plastic pieces are magnets for toxic materials such as PCBs or pesticides and bind themselves to the plastic. The microplastics then make their way from the wastewater and ground back into the water we drink, our food, and the air we breathe.

Microplastics are in Our Water

Because the minuscule plastics are so small, they make their way past the water treatment plants and filters and back into the water we use every day for drinking, cooking, bathing, and cleaning. That means that we’re ingesting and surrounding ourselves with toxic-bound plastics. 

Microplastics are in Our Food

Since microplastics are pervasive in our water, animals are also ingesting the chemical-laden plastics, and crops are affected. The meat and veggies make their way up the food chain to our plates filling our digestive systems and eventually our blood with the plastics and toxins. 

Microplastics are in Our Air

Microplastics are also carried by the wind to even the world’s most remote places. They are released through the evaporation of water, home laundry dryers, the friction of tires on the ground, and more. We then breathe them into our lungs, where they become lodged and can create larger health issues. 

What Can You Do? 

It’s important to stay informed about how prevalent microplastics are in our everyday life. But you don’t need to get discouraged. Instead, you can look for ways to help reduce the harm microplastics are causing globally. 

Shop Consciously. There is power in how you spend your money. Choosing plastic-free, sustainable, and reusable products is a great start and signals to companies that you value earth-friendly goods. 

Reuse and Recycle. Plastics aren’t going away anytime soon, so think about how you can repurpose and reuse when you have to use them. When you’re done with plastic items, try to recycle everything. Check with your local waste management company to see what types of plastic can be recycled

Install a Filtrol. The Filtrol laundry filter captures 89% of microplastics released during your wash cycle. This simple solution will keep thousands of microfibers from making their way into the environment. Click here to buy now.

Top 7 Awesome Organizations Protecting the Oceans from Plastic Pollution

Top 7 Awesome Organizations Protecting the Oceans from Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution in our oceans is a global problem. We know that this will continue to be a problem for years to come, but there are things we can do now that will make a difference one day at a time. These incredible organizations are working hard to conserve our planet’s oceans by working toward reducing plastic usage and waste, cleaning up the garbage in our oceans, and educating people on the importance of caring for oceanic ecosystems. These are all great places to start if you’re interested in getting involved with advocacy and collaboration surrounding plastic pollution and keeping our oceans clean for future generations.

Natural Resources Defense Council 

The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) is working toward protecting seas and oceans from pollution and exploitation. Through legislative action, they create opportunities to reduce overfishing, protect coastal communities from offshore drilling, and work to improve the standard of global ocean stewardship. They believe in uniting everyone around the singular goal of protecting and conserving the planet that we all rely on. 

Project AWARE

Project AWARE is a coalition of individuals, government agencies, NGOs, and businesses who work together to advocate for the prevention and reduction of marine debris. They sponsor the Dive Against Debris, a program where scuba divers use their time and skills to clean up the garbage polluting our oceans and report on the types, quantity, and location of the materials they find. 

Bahamas Plastic Movement

After studying the Western Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean, Kristal Ambrose was inspired to start the Bahamas Plastic Movement (BHM). BHM is working to educate people about the dangers of plastic pollution and motivate them to take action by preventing plastic pollution and cleaning it up. They host camps for kids, beach clean-up days, and educational classes that help keep the Bahamas beautiful. 

Surfrider Foundation

Dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans and beaches, the Surfrider foundation fights to reduce plastic pollution, ocean protection, beach access, coastal preservation, and cleaner water. They set up local clubs and chapters all over the U.S. that people can join to clean up beaches, advocate for policy and legislation change, and educate their communities on conserving the world’s water. 

Take 3

This global initiative believes in the power of everyone doing their small part to make a big difference. They are working to educate people about plastic pollution and advocate for people to take at least three pieces of garbage with them when they leave the beach, a waterway, or anywhere they go to reduce the amount of plastic and garbage pollution in the world. 

5 Gyres Institute

The 5 Gyres Institute works to empower people to take action against the global health crisis that is plastic pollution through science, education, and advocacy. Their programs work to simultaneously clean up plastic and garbage pollution and use that waste to develop data about the environment’s types, locations, and amount of garbage.

Filtrol

Filtrol has also joined the fight to keep our oceans clean – and we’re inviting you to play a part as well! Microfibers from our laundry are releasing thousands of microfibers into our wastewater, eventually polluting our food and drinking water. The simple act of installing the Filtrol in your home can prevent up to 89% of these pollutants from ever making it into our waterways. 

Do You Know Which Plastics to Recycle? Here’s a Helpful Guide!

Do You Know Which Plastics to Recycle? Here’s a Helpful Guide!

While recycling systems have certainly come a long way over the years, it can still be confusing to know what plastics you should be recycling and what types need to be kept out of the recycling process. 

There are a lot of different types of plastic around the world, and it’s important to know that not all plastic is created equal. Plastics are made out of various chemicals and materials that can affect their ability to be recycled. While you should check with your local sanitation company as rules can be different for every city, here are some good rules of thumb to stick to when sorting your plastics for recycling and can help inform your buying habits at the store.

What plastic can be Recycled? 

#1 PET

Typically used for single-use items such as soft drinks, ketchup, peanut butter containers, etc., PET is lightweight plastic making it easy to recycle. PET plastics are often recycled into fleece, fiber totes, furniture, carpet, etc. 

#2 HDPE

HDPE is an adaptable higher-density plastic often used in packaging for milk jugs, household cleaners, shopping bags, and yogurt tubs. While plastic bags usually can’t be recycled with local curbside recycling, many stores collect them for recycling, such as Target or Walmart. HDPE can be recycled back into the same types of plastic containers, pens, drainage pipes, fencing, and more. 

What plastic cannot be Recycled? 

#3 PVC

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and Vinyl (V) is a tough plastic used for flooring and siding. It’s a highly toxic material that releases toxins in the air during manufacturing and if burned. While a few places collect used PVC, it is typically considered non-recyclable. 

Plastics that Can Sometimes be Recycled

#4 LDPE

LDPE is a flexible plastic that often packages items such as toothpaste, bread, frozen food, shopping bags, and furniture. It isn’t available for recycling in many curbside programs and needs to be thrown in the trash, other than plastic bags that you can drop off at some local stores. LDPE plastics are often recycled into trash can liners, cans, composting bins, paneling, and lumber. 

#5 PP

This plastic has a high melting point, making it perfect for holding hot liquids in coffee mugs or other beverage bottles, and is also found in medicine bottles, caps, and straws. You can recycle PP through some curbside programs, but always make sure it’s clean before throwing it in the bin. PP-based plastic can be recycled into items such as battery cables, brooms, ice scrapers, rakes, and trays. 

#6 PS

PS comes in two forms – rigid and foam (also known as styrofoam) and is another highly toxic form of plastic often used in disposable plates, cups, and take-out containers. Toxins from PS can contaminate food and be ingested into our system. While not many sanitation companies can accept PS in the form of foam, rigid PS products can sometimes be recycled. 

#7 Miscellaneous

This category refers to all other types of plastics that don’t fit into categories 1-6. Some examples of this are bullet-proof materials, DVDs, sunglasses, some food containers, and nylon. While these are traditionally not recycled, many curbside programs are making an effort to start including them, so check with your local pick-up provider. 

The world of plastics is vast, and they aren’t going away any time soon. The best thing we can do in the meantime is to reduce the amount of plastic we use and buy – and to stay educated about plastic pollution and recycling options. Remember to check with your local pick-up to see what items you can recycle, and we will all continue to take one step at a time toward a plastic-free future!

Comparing Microfiber Filters: The Lint Filter with the Best Results

Thousands of microfibers enter our water systems with every load of laundry we do. To make our way toward a better, healthier environment, we all have a part in decreasing pollution. Purchasing a microfiber filter is a great first step to making a difference. 

Which Filter is Right for me? 

At Filtrol, a lot of research takes place to ensure that you are getting the best product on the market. There are a lot of choices you can make when you’re looking to stop microfibers and protect water sources for generations to come. We believe that Filtrol stands above the rest, offering the best value for your dollar. We compared information from three popular microfiber filters on the market to see how they stood up against the Filtrol.

The Results

While taking any step toward reducing microfibers and microplastics in our environment is essential, we take pride in knowing that the Filtrol gives the best value and catch rate on the market so that we can get back to real water.