In the Belly of a Whale

In the Belly of a Whale

How much plastic is being ingested by sea life? 

In April of 1969, an article was published in The Auk that showed the stomach of an albatross containing indigestible plastic particles. Since then, plastic’s impact on our environment has been on our radar and in our global conversations. 

Every time a load of laundry is done in a home or business, it washes microscopic particles of plastic into the ecosystem. These pollutants don’t break down or get filtered out by treatment and filtration processes. And as these wash through our plumbing and into our water supplies, they’re invading our environment. They pass through filtration and are spit out into rivers and streams, and eventually into oceans. 

How much plastic…exactly?

A good question without a good answer. Advances in industry and innovations in manufacturing have led to the production of synthetic materials that are totally and completely foreign to nature. They don’t deteriorate or break down. The number of plastic particles in our oceans can obviously not be counted. Trillions upon trillions and tons upon tons of them. Truckloads full. 

According to the World Economic Forum, a total of 386 marine fish species have been known to have ingested plastic particles. And the higher on the food chain a sea animal is, the more likely it is that plastic can be found in the stomach of that animal. Sharks, tuna, grouper, and whales are known to eat smaller fish. These smaller fish are eating even smaller sea creatures and ingesting tons upon tons of these microscopic pieces of plastic. So the more organisms and fish that something eats, the more pollutants it’s ingesting. The challenge in these realities is that only about 2% of ocean species have been tested for plastic pollution. 


As the research continues into how exactly this plastic is impacting the wildlife that is consuming it, the efforts are continuing to educate people on why good, plastic-free principles are important. The work is also continuing to reduce the outflow of plastic with disruptive solutions and advances in technology that will filter out these microscopic pollutants. 

Protecting Minnesota

For years, we’ve been doing research that has the potential to make a global difference and we’ve distributed our plastic filtration products to almost every continent. As the problem becomes more and more apparent and as people become more and more aware of the need to make significant moves in a better direction, there are more contributors to the conversations and more innovators to the problem. Plastic, after all, is found deep in the ocean and on top of the highest mountains. It’s impacting countless species of fish and birds, being ingested by animals and people alike, and is eventually found on our plates and even in our beer. 

At Filtrol, we want to be part of the global solution to this problem.

But we also want to be part of the local solution. In Minnesota, our local ecosystem is one of the best things we have going for us. With over 10,000 lakes, miles of serene landscapes, and more water front property than coastal states, we are an outdoor enthusiast’s dream with four seasons of outdoor activity, from snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing in the winter to jet skis, wakeboarding, and camping in the summer. Avid hunters and fishermen have miles upon miles of forests, fields, trails, lakes, rivers, and creeks. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area offers solitude and the southern and western parts of our state produce crops that are shipped across the country. 

In all of this flurry of activity and opportunity in our state, we are serious about keeping Minnesota all that it was meant to be for our children and grandchildren…and then for their children and grandchildren. 

Part of this means that we’re doing the hard work and research to make sure the products we build in our labs are easy to install and maintain for people. We don’t want anybody to not use our plastic filtration system because it didn’t seem worth the headache. 

We also are committed to keeping the Filtrol affordable. Being socially and environmentally responsible shouldn’t cost so much. An affordable, easy-to-install and maintain filtration system can make it possible for individual people to make exponential impacts on massive, microscopic issues. 

We’re also serious about making the Filtrol effective.

The Filtrol is already doing good work, but we know we can do better. We’re always trying to improve our catch rates. We’re continuing our efforts to produce minimal waste even in our manufacturing, so that from start to finish, the Filtrol is environmentally-conscious. We’re always trying to expand our reach, so that more people in more places are using the Filtrol. And we’re always trying to protect the place we love to call home. Minnesota!

Fast Fashion and Its Big Impact

Fast fashion refers to the strategy in clothing retail to replicate high cost styles and trends at a fraction of the cost of name brands. Fast fashion does not necessarily mean inexpensive, as some fast fashion brands charge much more for their clothes than others. Their production and manufacturing standards are sub-par, and some of them have a reputation and a history of poor work conditions. The problem with fast fashion brands as it relates to our efforts and our concerns at Filtrol is the massive and devastating impact that fast fashion is having on our environment. 

Consider this:

The cheaper the fabric, the more likely it is that the fabric is made of synthetic fibers. Synthetic fibers are generally not biodegradable. They shed millions of microscopic particles of plastic when they are washed — particles that never leave our environment. They leave our homes and businesses and end up trickling into our water supply and food supply. They are consumed by animals. They are found in fresh water sources, in highest mountains and miles deep beneath the surface of the ocean. They are found in our beer and our cod. They’re everywhere. 

And given the low quality of many fast fashion products, they also don’t last. This means that even beyond shedding fibers, when they run through our laundry, they also have a shorter life and end up in landfills at a much higher rate. 

The summary is this:

– Before you buy, do your research.
– Don’t assume that clothes that look nice on a mannequin in a storefront are nice to our environment.
– Don’t equate affordable fashion with responsible choices.

The more you can research the companies you’re buying from and the more intentional you are about the fabrics you choose to wear, the more you’re going to help protect our environment. At Filtrol, we care about what you wear because we care about our environment. Pay attention to the clothes you buy and be intentional about the brands you choose. Together, we can get back to real water. 

What to Do with All the Litter…

Not many people drive along the freeway or walk along the beach without feeling at least some sense of disgust or sadness over garbage on the ground. Plastic bags stuck in trees. Fast food packages stuck in the brush. Straws, wrappers, cigarettes. It seems every once in a while while driving down the road you stumble upon an area that has been especially pummeled with litter and trash. It can feel out of control and beyond help. Signs on the side of the road point to families and businesses who have adopted a section of highway to try to help. But yet the problem doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. 

What Can We Do?

It seems that no matter how many garbage bags (made of plastic) you fill with trash, there’s no difference made. Garbage is everywhere. So is the impact. It’s affecting our scenery and our drinking water. 

And so before we abandon our fight and decide that our best days are behind us, we believe that small, simple steps can make a big, lasting impact on the world around us. 

Install a Filtrol. Expand Your Definition of Impact. 

The work that Filtrol does to stop plastic pollution in its tracks isn’t stopping plastic bags from getting stuck in trees or cigarette butts from getting dumped into the street at traffic lights. But 

Ultimately, the installation of a Filtrol on your home or business laundry systems is making a big impact on the plastic waste you’re producing. But it’s bigger than that. It’s doing more than stopping millions of microfibers from entering ground water, drinking water, and food sources. It’s doing more than preserving our ecosystem and protecting our precious resources. 

it is helping people engage with the problem that’s all around us. It’s helping people to see that plastic pollution is something we all need to take responsibility for. It’s helping people put money into the cause and to put action to the frustration they feel when they see garbage. 

When you’re invested, you’re more likely to pick up the garbage you see on the side of the road or at the beach. When you’re invested, you’re more likely to go out of your way to make your surroundings more beautiful and less cluttered with trash. When you’re invested, you’re thinking about how to engage other people in the discussion and into becoming part of the solution. 

So get invested! Buy a Filtrol for your home and business and be part of a bigger conversation. 

FILTROL

Microscopic Plastic & Our Journey to Make Changes Happen

At Filtrol, we’ve been in business long enough to see a few different iterations of our product hit the market. We’re constantly tweaking our filtration methods; testing new variants of our product against previous versions. We want to do better. We want to make a bigger impact on plastic pollution and help others do the same. We’re constantly assessing our progress and trying to answer a few fundamental questions: 

How can we be more effective?

We won’t be satisfied with the work we’re doing until the Filtrol is stopping 100% of the plastic in laundry’s wastewater. 

Welcome to the question that keeps us up at night; the dilemma that has led to piles and piles of prototypes. Our quest to develop a more efficient and effective Filtrol that will require less maintenance and deliver higher performance is actually producing impressive results. We’ve started to finalize a variation of the Filtrol now that will me a more lower profile addition to your space and will be a more productive contributor to plastic pollution mitigation. 

How can we be more affordable? 

We won’t be satisfied until we know that the Filtrol is affordable for every home. 

The fight against plastic pollution should not be limited by somebody’s budget. The more that we can make our products available to all people, the more we can start to turn the tides on this massive microscopic problem. 

How can we be in more homes? 

There are lots of ways we can start working to get the Filtrol into more homes. Until a product like ours is required by building codes to be present, it comes down to education and partnerships. By working with contractors and builders, we can get them installed in new homes. By working with energy programs, we can get them installed in existing homes. By partnering with other likeminded companies, we can educate people on the options available to them, helping them realize that we’ll be more effective if we attack plastic from all angles. 

The work we’re doing is going to continue until the job is done. What this means for us is that we have our work cut out for us. But with strategically partnering with people around the country and globe, with more testing and better engineering, and with continued engineering and innovation, we can continue to see progress in our fight against plastic. 

Turning Ideas into Action

Plastic Pollution Needs More Than Words 

The more that time passes, the more we’re learning about the far-reaching impacts of plastic in our ecosystem. Whether we’re talking about grocery bags washing into the ocean, soda can rings entangling wildlife, or microscopic plastic particles in our drinking water and food, the more we study it the more we discover its massive impacts. 

At some point, ideas need to turn into action if we’re going to start impacting our environment in positive ways. While individual actions should be taken, such as stopping the use of single-use plastics and picking up plastics on roadsides and beaches, we all need to consider investing in some more comprehensive solutions to this problem. 

Is legislation the answer?

So far, 8 states in the US have outlawed the use of single-use plastic bags. In addition, various cities and towns across the country have made the move. The idea that we are going to push every state to this point of legislation is not out of the question. What once seemed like an impossibility is now on the horizon. 

But that’s just the start. 

What needs addressed is bigger than trips to the grocery store. We need to solve the problems of litter and laundry. We need to educate people on what’s happening, what the implications are, and what our options are.

At Filtrol, we don’t believe that the sky is falling. We don’t believe that this plastic ship has sailed. Quite the contrary, actually. We are hopeful and optimistic. We see a lot of good people and good companies working hard alongside us in this fight.  We see good solutions on the horizon for solving plastic problems of all sizes. 

Plastic Pollution is Solvable

But we have to all move beyond words. We have to start implementing small changes and voting in big changes. We have to change our habits and change our manufacturing standards. We have to be take seriously the charge in front of us to protect the environment and be part of turning ideas into action. 

FILTROL – Turning the Tides on Plastic

At Filtrol, our goals are somewhat aspirational. We say things like “stopping plastic” and “solving the plastic pollution problem.” We are making some big, bold claims and setting our sights on some pretty extravagant deliverables. 

But we’re not naive. 

We know that the problem we’re up against is enormous. We know that the real numbers on the amount of plastic entering our streams, rivers, and oceans are simply estimates. We know that the implications to the careless manufacturing and disposal of single-use plastics are still up in the air. We know that plastic is being consumed by wildlife and by humans at alarming rates. We know that plastic is being manufactured at rates that can’t even be compared to the rates at which they’re breaking down. 

But we’re not slowing down. 

We are working hard on newer, more efficient, more affordable versions of the Filtrol, with prototypes and filtration media lining our shelves. We are researching and learning from our competitors — knowing that we are in the minority of businesses who actually celebrate the work of those on the same mission as we are. We are working on more effective methods for educating people on the harmful implications of plastic and more productive ways to get a Filtrol into the hands — and onto the laundry systems — of every home and business. 

Join our Fight?

If you don’t already have a Filtrol installed on your home or commercial laundry system, consider buying one. It’s a worthwhile investment. If you don’t know much about plastic pollution, learn more here. To keep up-to-date on what we’re doing at Filtrol to turn the tides on plastic pollution, click here

Earth Day is on April 22nd!

Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd! Now is the time to start planning; to start thinking about what you will do this year!

Earth Day Opportunities for Impact

Earth Day is a great opportunity to organize a community-oriented event that will engage people and make a difference. You can do something alone or with a few friends or you can think bigger and organize a city-wide activity. 

Raise money to donate reusable grocery bags. Organize a community event to clean up litter at a park or beach. Plant trees. Spread mulch and plant flowers. 

There are endless opportunities for Earth Day activities! 

The goal of these events is to help people to take ownership of the world around them. You’re not asking them to join a political movement or to handcuff themselves to trees in the forest. You’re inviting them to dream bigger about what your home, neighborhood, community, or city can look like and feel like. 

Organize a Green Litter Movement

Not all litter is bad.

Let’s quickly clarify that statement. 

Consider buying wildflower seeds like these and hand them out to your neighbors and friends. Encourage them to toss them; to throw them along ditches, roadways, and boulevards. To hand them out to others to do the same. Before long, our neighborhoods will be glittered with color and beauty. 

Make this coming Earth Day one where a greener, healthier, more beautiful type of litter becomes part of our communities! 

Let April 22nd be Day 1

The goal of something like Earth Day is not for one day of care and concern followed by 364 days of neglect. Instead, think of ways to make April 22nd the first day of some new initiatives in your life, your home, or your community. 

Make this coming Earth Day the start of a whole new effort to make smarter, more eco-friendly decisions. Whether it’s the day you officially stop using plastic grocery bags or its the day you start your “Plant One Tree a Month” initiative, April 22nd can be the start of a whole new way of life! 

At Filtrol, we are excited to partner with people and organizations who are serious about protecting our environment and stopping the onslaught of plastic pollution all around us. 

What will you do this Earth Day to protect our environment? 

Plastic and Our World – A Shared Mission

Plastic and Our World – A Shared Mission

According to The Nature Conservancy, “If current trends continue, roughly 12 billion metric tons of plastic waste will be in our landfills or polluting the environment by 2050—the equivalent of almost 80 million blue whales.”

This statistic and others like it are sounding an alarm unilaterally across the globe. The problem is growing. The conversation is being followed by more people. Governments and NGOs are getting involved. Homeowners are getting involved. Children are part of the solution and so are grandparents. It’s a universally relevant and necessary conversation, because the plastic problem isn’t just not going away. It’s exponentially growing. 

We All Have a Part to Play

Convenience is sometimes irresponsible. Single use plastics and cheaper manufacturing are turning out to be much more costly to our environment and our way of life than once known. And now it’s time to decide if we’re okay with ignoring the implications. 

The call to stop the flow of plastic waste is getting louder and louder as more time passes. As more plastic is released into our environment each minute and as more opportunities arise to make practical, thoughtful changes to our normal, everyday routines, we are given the chance to start making a change. 

It’s not even necessarily an “all or none” invitation, even though some would frame it that way. 

Reduction is Something

It seems that many in this conversation speak in extremes and therefore isolate most people. The majority of people in this conversation legitimately care about the issue of plastic pollution but don’t know how to make a difference. They don’t see how their family of 5 choosing to not use plastic silverware or straws is going to save the whales. 

But it’s not “all or none.” It’s better choices. It’s reducing each one of our own plastic impacts on our world. It’s about making some changes, starting to reduce the number of plastic bags you use at the grocery store. Investing in higher quality clothing that keeps plastics out of their materials. Partnering with brands that are committed to a healthier planet. 

Ultimately, this isn’t a discussion about politics or belief systems. The data is clear that plastic is everywhere. We can clearly see how our manufacturing innovations have led to global pollution. And now it’s simply time to start making some changes. To start reducing our use of single-use plastics. To start caring about the fabrics in our clothing. To stop plastic before it leaves our homes. 

Read the full article from the Nature Conservancy entitled, “It’s Now or Forever: Let’s stop the flow of plastic wastehere.

Learn more about what FIltrol is doing to make plastic pollution a problem we all can help solve. 

How Our Clothes are Getting into our Food

How Our Clothes are Getting into our Food

When someone says the word “plastic pollution,” a million different images come into our minds. 

Plastic bags floating in the ocean. Six-pack encasements wrapped around a turtle’s neck. Beaches riddled with garbage or birds’ stomachs filled with plastic straws and wrappers. Plastic water bottles filling landfills and giant garbage patches buoyant in the ocean. 

But what’s hard to picture is the microscopic particles of synthetic fibers that are washed from our laundry. They leave our homes unfiltered and flow through our water treatment processes and into our ecosystem. These microscopic pieces of plastic end up in our drinking water and food. They are found in the most remote landscapes and are even 7 miles underneath the surface of the ocean. 

So how do these plastics end up in our food? And even before that, how do plastics end up in our clothes? 

Fabrics like polyester, nylon, acrylic and polyamide are all made of synthetic (which means “chemically-based” or “man-made”) materials. Plastics are either manufactured specifically for these fabrics or are recycled and reused to manufacture them. During the wash, rinse, and spin cycles of household and industrial laundering, millions upon millions of the pieces of synthetic material are flushed out with the water, soap, and dirt. They don’t break down. They don’t biodegrade. They simply pollute every space they inhabit.

Many of the fabrics and materials manufactured of these synthetic compounds are attributed with the “fast fashion” industry, where clothing is made cheap and fast so that it can be distributed easily As our awareness of plastic pollution and its impact on our world becomes more and more at the center of our discussions, we discover new implications to things we once considered to be conveniences. 

Filtrol Provides an Answer

At Filtrol, we aren’t necessarily cutting away the plastic that’s wrapped around the turtle’s neck…though we would if we could. But what we are doing? We’re stopping the fibers that are shedding from your clothes from ever leaving your home or facility. We’re cleaning out the wastewater that’s being pumped into water treatment plants, so that billions of plastic particles don’t devastate our ecosystem.