The 3 Most Important Plastic Pollution Facts You Need to Know

The Plastic Pollution Facts You Need to Know

There’s a lot of information out there about plastic pollution. It can be overwhelming and sometimes even discouraging to filter through all the articles, studies, and research about plastic pollution. While plastic pollution is definitely an issue that you need to pay attention to, you don’t need to stress yourself out with every piece of information that crosses your news feed. We’ve put together the main plastic pollution facts that you need to know to stay educated so that we can continue to work toward reducing plastic waste. 

What is plastic pollution, and why should we care? 

Plastic pollution refers to the plastic waste in landfills, water, nature, and just about every place you can think of. This can range from the larger plastic waste you see on the side of the road or on the beach when you’re on vacation to the tiny microplastics that we can’t see. When plastic isn’t being properly recycled or disposed of, it makes its way into the ground, our food and water, and eventually our bodies. Microplastics have been found in human digestive systems, feces, lungs, and even in our blood. 

Plastic Pollution Fact You Need to Know #1: Less than ⅕ of all plastic is recycled globally.

The United States only recycles about 9% of our plastic and is one of the highest contributors to plastic usage. This means that more plastics than necessary are ending up in the garbage and polluting our environment and water systems. Plastic can take 20-500 years to decompose and leave behind even more microplastics that can potentially be even more problematic. 

(Source: Fast facts about plastic pollution, National Geographic)

Plastic Pollution Fact You Need to Know #2: 40% of plastic is made for single-use packaging.

This plastic comes from online shopping, grocery items, new electronics, etc. The production of these plastics accounts for 161,000,000  tons of plastic and cannot be recycled, which means that they go straight into landfills and end up in oceans. These plastics also end up breaking down into smaller microplastics that have the potential to make their way back into our water and food systems.

(Source: Fast facts about plastic pollution, National Geographic)

Plastic Pollution Fact You Need to Know #3: It is estimated that the U.S. is dumping more than 64,000 pounds of microfiber into natural water sources every day. 

Microfibers are microplastics measuring less than 5mm in diameter. Every time we do a load of laundry, between 136,000 to 1,000,000 microfibers from synthetic fabrics are released into the environment. After these microfibers are released, they often attach themselves to the food of animals who inadvertently ingest them. Eventually, these minuscule microfibers make their way up the food chain to humans. Microfibers also make their way back into our drinking water because they are too small to filter out. 

(Sources: Is my washing to blame for the plastic problem?, BBC News, What You Should Know About Microfiber Pollution, Environmental Protection Agency)

Plastic pollution is a global issue, and only a global solution will be the remedy. We have a shared mission, and it will take efforts from individuals, small businesses, corporations, and environmental agencies to reduce the amount of plastic pollution and create a cleaner, healthier world. You can take one step toward a better tomorrow today by reducing 89% of the microfibers water pollution from your laundry with the Filtrol

More Research. Same Results.

More Research into Plastic Pollution. Same Exact Results.

More research into plastic pollution has yielded the same results. Multiple sources of information have pointed to the same conclusion. Data and research from a wide range of contributors have come upon the same findings: The plastic pollution issue is a global concern that requires an intentional and global response. 

Different reports and predictions indicate an exponential expansion of plastic and its impacts in our planet’s water sources. Oceans are expected to have more plastic than fish by 2050, with dangerous levels of plastic already being detected in the Mediterranean, the ice of the Arctic, and the East China and Yellow Seas. From massive clumps of trash to microscopic pieces invisible to the naked eye, this plastic is everywhere, and it isn’t staying in the oceans. It’s becoming part of our ecosystem, consumed by the smallest members of the food chain and eventually ending up on our dinner plates. 

Sea Life and Plastic

Sea turtles and birds are known to regularly consume plastic, as are mussels and oysters — both commonly consumed whole by humans. There are significant causes for concern when considering the true implications of this plastic in our wildlife and our diets. 

But strictly from an ecological standpoint, plastic’s polluting effects are still worth considering and investigating. According to research published by the World Economic Forum in February of 2022, the threat of extinction to wildlife like sperm whales and monk seals is becoming more and more real each year, with many ecologically-rich environments now measuring drastically marked increases in plastic’s presence. 

According to the Analysis for the Worldwide Fund for Nature, “2,141 species have so far been found to encounter plastic pollution in their natural environments.”

With more than 100 million tons of plastic having already entered our waterways, taking dedicated and effective steps forward will involve more than a laundry lint filter or a law on the books. It will be a global decision to control plastic’s production and its disposal. It will be a unilateral effort to make responsibility a value in the way we protect our environment for future generations. But it does start with individual decisions — one at a time. And then those decisions take root and take shape into lifestyle changes for individuals and families. Communities are impacted and change goes from being possible to be measurable. 

So what will your response be to this issue?

How will you leave this planet better than you found it? 

Plastic: Innovation or Devastation?

Plastic: Innovation or Devastation?

Try for a moment imagining a world without plastic. What would life look like? What would be different? Think about restaurants and gas stations. Think about your junk drawer at home. Think about your wardrobe… The buttons on your coats and the cars that you drive. 1 million conveniences and 1 million necessities… All possible because of plastic.

And now imagine for a moment a world where plastic was no longer manufactured.

What changes would you need to make today if plastic could no longer be manufactured or sold? What changes would need to be made if plastic was outlawed? Every once in a while you’ll hear talk of plastic bags at grocery stores being eliminated. Every so often you’ll hear about the amount of plastic bottles flushed into the streets in places like Haiti where freshwater is in short supply and so bottled water is given as a supplement. And truthfully, eliminating plastic bottles and plastic grocery bags would be a tremendous accomplishment. 

But it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. 

Plastic, in all of its forms, truly is all around us. It’s in our hospitals and medical clinics. In every sport and every kitchen. It’s in the clothes that you wear and in the devices you’re using to read this article. Plastic is an integral part of our lives and the efforts to make plastic a thing of the past are probably, in complete transparency, rather arbitrary. Our world does not easily dispose of the things that make life easier… Or cheaper. 

So go again to that world where there is no plastic. Whether plastic never existed or could no longer be manufactured – a world without plastic is hard to even wrap our heads around. We rely on it. We expect it. We need it.

But what do we do about it?

At Filtrol, we are fully aware of the massive dependence our world has on plastic. And our goal is not to eradicate it from existence. Instead, it’s to make the world we live in is absolutely beautiful and untarnished as possible. It’s to give our children and their children and their children’s children’s children the same beauty that we get to experience whenever we hike the Superior Trail, swim in the ocean, or drink a glass of water or a microbrew. We’re not here to get rid of plastic. We are here so that our world knows how to live with it.

And that means we have to keep plastic from damaging our planet. We have to control our processes and our manufacturing standards so that we aren’t flushing billions of microfibers into freshwater sources. And we have to be responsible in our innovations. If we can do this, there is a chance that the existence of plastic can be an innovation without meaning total devastation

But it’s in our hands to make the change.

A Children’s Book About Environmentalism & Zero Waste

A Children’s Book About Environmentalism & Zero Waste

About the Author:

Written by a friend of Filtrol and SeaHugger founder, Shell Cleave. Sea Hugger is a non-profit organization combating marine plastic pollution. This story was actually inspired by Gio, Shell’s grandson, and the need to create a better world for our next generations to live and thrive in.

About the Book, The Littlest Sea Hugger:

  • A story about a little boy who learns about marine plastic pollution and he, along with his family, find ways to turn their anxiety into action to be part of the solution.
  • This story is based on real events and is set in Half Moon Bay. It is beautifully illustrated by local artist, Rose Zilber.
  • In concludes with resourceful ways kids can take action in their own homes and become a Sea Hugger!!

Where Can You Get It?

This book is available right now! Find it on SeaHuggers page by going HERE to order yours today! Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd, 2022, what a great gift this would make for those special little someone’s in your life! And even better, all proceeds go to Sea Hugger, to help spread their message and to fund their programs.

Don’t forget to also check this out!

Sea Hugger is also offering, what they are calling, “Camp Sea Hugger At Home” , which features things like field trip videos and activities that can be done at home. This can be fun for all ages so make sure to swing by!

Small Changes for a Big Difference

Plastic Pollution: Small Changes for a Big Difference

We hear a lot of talk these days about change. The pandemic made all of us have to change the way we work. Our offices became our kitchen tables and our kids were homeschooled. Supply chain issues have caused us to change our expectations at grocery stores and car dealerships. The new year reminded us that we needed to stop bad habits and start good ones. 

The call to change — and the opportunity to change — is all around us. 

And like any kind of change, it can seem impossible — or at the very least daunting — when we’re on one side of the problem. 

But also like any kind of change, it starts with a single step. It starts with a decision that it’s time to do something. And once that decision is made, it comes down to the next step. And then the next. And so on. 

Starting with Something

When it comes to plastic pollution, what do you know? Have you done the research and read the data? Have you looked into the Garbage Patch that’s floating in the Pacific? Have you seen how much plastic is produced in a day? How much ends up in streets and waterways? Have you considered how the fabrics you’re washing are effecting our environment? Have you weighed your own contribution to micro plastic pollution? 

Learn

Sometimes, the first step for making a change is simply through education. Take a look at the data that’s available and decide for yourself. How drastic the issue and how pressing the call to action will be determined by how you interpret what you discover. 

Act

From using less plastic straws to installing a Filtrol on your laundry’s wash tub, there are a million little ways to make a big difference on the massive issue of plastic pollution. On one hand, it makes sense that someone would question their own potential for impact. One person who chooses to significantly cut back on single-use plastics doesn’t really offer much potential to move the needle on plastic pollution. However, entire communities, cities, and states doing it together exponentially increases the impact.

Share

Sometimes the smallest act makes the biggest impact. Encourage your neighbors to install a Filtrol. Host a party with no single-use plastics. Organize a beach and trail clean-up day. Let your kids see you pick up litter on your walk from the car to the front door of the grocery store. Share with others the decisions you’re making to cut back on plastics devastating presence in our ecosystem. 


The opportunity to change is all around us. Small steps can make all the difference in the world.

So start small. Do something. 

Movements Against Plastic

Movements Against Plastic

If you’ve been tracking the plastic pollution issues plaguing our planet, you’ve undoubtedly heard that by 2050, at current trends, there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. Plastic is everywhere. Milk cartons, straws, fishing line, plastic bags…the garbage is piling up. Microscopic pieces of plastic from clothing fibers and laundry wastewater are becoming part of the ecosystem. Plastic is being manufactured, used, and disposed at unquantifiable numbers. Consumer demands aren’t decreasing and mitigating efforts aren’t progressing fast enough. 

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t efforts being made. Governments are rewarding companies with plastic-free philosophies of business and production. Movements are gaining traction that give people more affordable access to plastic-free products and services. From shipping materials to innovations with recycled glass, the companies and organizations that are looking to make a difference deserve our attention…and our business. 

Here are a few companies worth looking at: 

Algramo provides sustainable shopping solutions to consumers, with an RFID tag that allows items like shampoo bottles and food containers to be refilled. It reduces the consumption of single-use plastics and has shown a marked, measurable impact. 

Loop by TerraCycle delivers groceries in reusable containers. It’s essentially taking life back to the days when having a milkman was a thing. The containers that carried your food are returned, sanitized, and reused. Think about the implications of a product like this with a single product — like milk cartons. It is estimated that Americans consume approximately 21 billion gallons of milk every year. That’s a lot of plastic. 

The obvious final product we’ll highlight is our very own Filtrol. There are a handful of other products on the market that are seeking to do the same thing we’re after – all with varying levels of success. But the effectiveness of the Filtrol is unparalleled, eliminating more than 90% of plastic particles from effluent. The filtration processes and media have been developed, scrutinized, critiqued, engineered, and redesigned time and time again, constantly improving our catch rates and making sure we’re as effective as possible in stopping plastic in its tracks. 


As you look at the massive plastic pollution issue facing the globe, resolve to be a part of the solution. By utilizing the services and products of companies like Loop and Algramo, you’re helping to make this planet better for future generations. 

Plastic Pollution – Impact is Closer than You Think

When it comes to plastic pollution, advancements in research and development are making it easier for everyone to get involved. From easy-to-install filtration solutions to alternative materials and products that don’t put plastics into the environment, many companies, organizations, and groups around the world are actively pursuing pathways toward a plastic-free life. 

Addressing the Plastic Crisis

Aside from the advancements in technology and efficacy of filtration, it is essential that people also adopt a change in lifestyle. Better choices can lead to less contribution of plastic to our environment. By paying attention to the fabrics we purchase and the single-use plastics we use, we can make a small impact in this massive problem. And if thousands – and even millions – of people make that same decision, the impact is even greater. 

From a solutions-perspective, most homes don’t currently have a filter in place to catch the microfibers from their laundry. So getting a Filtrol installed into every home in America would make an immense impact on the amount of plastic being dumped into our oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams. Making a Filtrol a standard 

At Filtrol, we aren’t content with where we are.

While we are excited to offer the most effective laundry filtration solution for plastic pollution, we know there’s more that needs to be done. We need more effective solutions. We need more people to make the plastic pollution issue a personal one. We need more people, companies, and even governments making these advancements in plastic pollution filtration a cornerstone to life in our world. This is why we’re working on the Filtrol 2.0, with a sleeker design that is easier to maintain and has a more effective filtration solution. It’s why we’ve invented the FiberSnare, that makes effective filtration even easier with a lower cost and an even simpler install. 

When it comes to the massive microscopic plastic pollution problem, the impact we can make in our world is closer than you think. Solutions are within reach. One one hand, plastic pollution seems to be past a point of no return. It really is everywhere. The sheer volume of synthetic materials that has invaded our ecosystem has many wondering if we’ll ever know a plastic-free world.

But that’s only one part of the conversation.

At Filtrol, we want to be leading the other side of the conversation: the side that says we can all work together toward a cleaner, plastic-free world. The only way to know that is to start making solutions a part of our every day life. If we can do that, we’ll start to see an impact. 

The Global Plastic Action Partnership

Have you heard of the Global Plastic Action Partnership?

Basically, it’s a combined effort of governments, businesses, and cultural and civil influencers to make plastic pollution a topic of conversation, an object of legislation, and an effort for remediation. 

When you consider that 16 billion tons of plastic makes its way into the ocean every year, and when you consider the massive impact it has on wildlife and even on humankind, you realize that this isn’t a conversation about politics or preferences. In fact, at the pace we’re currently on, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by the year 2050. Read more here at the World Economic Forum’s site.

It’s not a question of whether someone is liberal or conservative or whether they believe that global warming is something to talk about. It’s not about the many divisive topics discussed on the 24-hour news cycle. 

It’s simply a discussion of stewardship. It’s a question of whether we’re going to be responsible with the opportunities we have to leave the world a better place than we found it. The efforts we take — or don’t take — to slow the release of plastics into our ecosystem will determine what this world looks like for our children and grandchildren. 

The Global Plastic Action Partnership is building its effort around the three primary pillars of awareness, research, and solutions. 

By raising awareness and leading more conversations, people can engage in meaningful discussions about the true impact of plastic on wildlife, water, and humanity. 

By investing in research we can begin to learn the true impact of plastic on our world, the pathways forward toward a plastic-free possibility, and the opportunities to change the current trends particularly within nations that are the largest contributors to the problem. 

By researching and developing solutions that either eliminate the need for plastic production or remove it before it pollutes the planet, the Global Plastic Action Partnership is moving the conversation from the theoretical to the practical.

If you haven’t yet joined the conversation, it’s not too late. There are good conversations happening around the globe. If you haven’t researched the problem, it’s worth looking into. You’ll be amazed…and probably a bit disturbed…by what you discover. There are also good solutions being developed and solid efforts being taken by people both with lifestyle changes and with tech advancements that are moving the needle on this issue. 

As you look at the massively impacting issue of plastic pollution that surrounds all of us, make sure you’re taking part in good conversations based in good research. And above all, be part of the solution, with efforts like the Global Plastic Action Partnership and by installing plastic mitigating solutions like the Filtrol. 

Audit Your Closet!

It’s Time to Audit Your Closet!

How much is your wardrobe contributing to plastic pollution? 

Microfibers are shed from your clothing every time you wash them. Millions of them are flushed out of your home through your wastewater with each load of laundry. Many ultimately find their way into our ecosystem — in lakes, rivers, and streams, in the bellies of wildlife, and even on our dinner plates. 

The problem with these microscopic particles of fabric are that many of them are actually made of plastic. Many fabrics and cheap articles of clothing are woven of recycled plastic materials. 

We challenge you to take a look in your closet! How much are the wardrobe choices you’re making contributing to the plastic pollution problem that’s overwhelming our ecosystem?


Polyester – Polyester has come a long way since the leisure suit stylings of the 1970’s. Look at your shirts and pants; at sport coats, jackets, and hats. Look at the tags on blankets, comforters and bed sheets. Each time you wash any of these items, you’re potentially washing plastic into the environment. 

Spandex – Are you someone who has turned yoga pants into a regular staple of your wardrobe? Yoga pants are often made from synthetic fibers like Lycra and Spandex — even the high end brands! While some brands boast a blend of fabrics, most still are comprised of at least 40% plastic. 

Faux Fur – This is one of those odd paradoxes, where an effort to save animals is potentially harmful to animals. Some people choose faux fur because it’s much cheaper than the real thing. Others do so because of their desire to protect animals. Whatever the reason, faux fur is often made of micro-plastic particles. While the process for washing these articles might vary, the plastic exists in them and ends up ultimately being shed.  

Nylon – Many outerwear and activewear garments are made of nylon – which is the first 100% synthetic material. It’s used to manufacture and supplement the materials in silk, rubber, and latex as well. 


These fabrics, among others, are flushing plastic particles from your home’s laundry machine and into the ecosystem. And while it may not be possible to go with an entirely natural closet, there are still steps you can take to make sure your fashion decisions aren’t so negatively impacting our environment. 

The Great Lakes and the Impacts of Plastic Pollution

For those living in the Upper Midwest, the Great Lakes are a way of life, from fishing and other water activities to vacation destinations and serene sunrises and sunsets. And the lakes are much more than recreational! The Great Lakes also make up the largest source of freshwater on the planet — at more than 20% of our fresh water.   

  • Lake Superior – the largest and coldest of the Great Lakes – reaches depths of more than 1300 feet. 
  • All 5 Great Lakes together make up more than 5,400 cubic miles of water. That’s 6 quadrillion gallons. That’s a lot of water. 
  • More than 30,000,000 people rely on the Great Lakes for drinking water – in both Canada and the United States. 

From the drinking water for more than 10,000,000 United States citizens to the habitat for more than 170 different species of fish — along with countless other types of marine life — the Great Lakes are a source of nourishment and life for animals and people alike. Many efforts have been made to preserve these vital ecosystems. However, years upon years of neglect within our manufacturing practices along with many bad habits and careless activities by all of us have had a massive impact. And it’s not something that can be ignored. 

  • More than 22 million pounds of plastic pollution end up in the Great Lakes every year. 
  • There are approximately 112,000 micro-particles of plastic per square mile of Great Lakes water. 

The pollutant particles that float through the water end up looking like food particles to fish, who then consume them. They often times stay in the digestive tract of the animal and act as sponges, undigested and absorbing poisons and toxins in the water. They end up staying in their bodies, being consumed by larger fish that are higher up on the food chain. Often times ending up in our food. 

From a water consumption standpoint, the story is the same. 

These microscopic pieces of plastic entered the Great Lakes through our wastewater. They made it through the water treatment and wastewater filtration systems because of their size (microplastics measure less than 5mm in length, with some of them virtually invisible). And when our water filtration systems pump water back into our treatment plants, those same microscopic pollutants will slip through the filtration media once again. It puts plastic into our drinking water. 

As you look at the fish lining the shelves at the supermarket, the beer on tap at your favorite brewery, or the water that’s being used for drinking and cooking, consider all that you’re not seeing. And while the problem is massive and the impacts are still being assessed, it’s worth considering the urgency of this matter. The more that we take seriously today the impact of plastic on the Great Lakes, the more we can start moving the needle on plastic pollution. 

Join Us at Filtrol as we work to stop plastic from entering the Great Lakes.