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.

The Problem with Plastic

If you’ve been a student of plastic pollution on any level, you’ve discovered that the problem is much bigger (and much more microscopic) than grocery bags or plastic milk cartons clogging up our drainage systems and filling the oceans with garbage patches in the Pacific. 

The problem with plastic is that it’s everywhere. 

Plastic’s remnants exist in the most remote places of our planet; in particles so small that they can’t even be seen with the human eye. 

Plastic is everywhere. It’s in wildlife and in our drinking water. It’s well-documented and only moderately understood. It’s being studied, researched, and then studied again. It’s a topic of discussion anywhere that conservation and global responsibility are on the agenda. It’s a problem being addressed in research labs and in legislative efforts across the globe.

But the problem still exists. And the efforts we take to address plastic has implications for generations to come. 

The problem with plastic is that it’s forever. 

Well…maybe…almost forever. We haven’t been around forever yet to know how long it really sticks around. But we have been around long enough to see it find its way into serene landscapes and dark ocean depths. Aging and degradation studies have estimated that the amount of time for break down of certain plastics is more than 2000 years!  

The problem with plastic is that it never used to exist. 

Once production began of plastic more than a century ago, materials were introduced into our environment — into marine life, into our diets, and into our lives — that had previously never existed. We’re talking about a material that didn’t exist until we made it exist! And some bells can’t be unrung. The introduction of plastic brought with it a million different conveniences. However, with the introduction of it also came the corresponding hazards of foreign chemicals and harmful toxins entering our world in places previously untouched. It changed our world – in more than one way. 

The problem with plastic is the it’s all of ours.  

Some countries are doing more than others to cause the problem; some are doing more to solve it. Some people are doing just about nothing about the problem — maybe because of a lack of awareness or because individual contributions seem so insignificant. Regardless of how you may feel about plastic or pollution, the problem is a shared one. It’s a dilemma that impacts us on the most basic level. It doesn’t discriminate or limit itself to research facilities or legislative sessions.

The fight against plastic is all of ours: All of ours to address. All of ours to fight. 

Plastic pollution is an exponentially growing problem that needs an exponentially growing movement. Join Filtrol as we work to solve the problem with plastic. 

Caution: Healthy Choices Could Be Hazardous to Your Health

Caution: Healthy Choices Could Be Hazardous to Your Health

Data shows that there is a tremendous benefit to consuming more Omega-3 fatty acids, which aren’t made within the human body and must be sourced from our foods. Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their many essential health boosts. 

Among the Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids…

  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Reduce triglycerides.
  • Slow the development of plaque in the arteries.
  • Reduce the chance of abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Reduce the likelihood of heart attack and stroke.
  • Lessen the chance of sudden cardiac death in people with heart disease.

These healthy benefits aren’t available in red meats or fruits and vegetables. Fish, however, are a food source known to be incredibly rich in them. Unfortunately, more and more research is showing that fish are also known to be disappointingly rich in microplastic pollution

Plastics aren’t just a problem when we see them floating in the ocean or stuck in branches along the highway. Plastics have been found in microscopic form in the most remote places on the planet. Miles underneath the ocean. High up in mountain streams. Research over the past several years has already established that plastic is absolutely everywhere — even when you can’t see it. 

And it’s what you can’t see that is really the problem. 

The implications of plastic’s inundation in our world are just being uncovered as it relates to our diet and overall health. As microscopic plastic is flushed into rivers and streams – and eventually moving into oceans – it’s being consumed by fish. These sources of essential fatty acids are also feeding us the results of our toxic manufacturing processes. 

Health-conscious consumers will only eat “wild caught” fish, because they are often free of hormones and not tainted by the toxic environments that many farm-raised fish are exposed to. However, these fish caught in the wild still consumed massive amounts of plastic while in the ocean or freshwater lake or river. They often were unable to digest these plastics that eventually absorbed into their bodies. 

Somewhere in between completely healthy choices and complete disregard is the reality in which we live when it comes to plastic consumption. Consuming Omega-3 fatty acids is an essential part of a healthy life. If you’re going to get them from your diet, you’re probably also going to consume plastic along with them. So be aware of what you’re consuming. Be smart about the food choices you make. And be aware of the research and work being done to unpack the true implications of plastic in our diets. 

Less Plastic or Plastic-Less: Creating a Plastic Free Family

If you’ve got kids, you’re fully aware of the onslaught of plastic that’s bombarding our world just by surviving your home. From gauntlets of Lego® pieces in a dimly lit hallway to contractor bags full of packaging and zip ties after a kid’s birthday party; from plastic straws from the drive-thru to plastic masks at Halloween, plastic is everywhere in family life. Without even trying, you can have a home that’s more plastic than anything else. 

One of the simplest ways to curb your plastic consumption is to create a plan for your plastic use. How much do you use? How much will you use? What kinds of accommodations will you make to your life so that your family is producing less waste. 

Do a Week-Long Plastic Audit 

The best way to know how much plastic you’re using as a family is to start paying attention. Pull out a notebook and create a log of all of the single-use plastics you and your family have used and thrown away. Packaging for perishable foods. Sandwich bags for school lunches or snacks. Grocery bags. Dental floss (yes…dental floss is most often made of nylon, which is a type of plastic). Shampoo bottles. There’s even plastic in some coffee filters! 

To make your log more accurate, and to make your effort more effective, consider inviting the whole family to take part. 

Invest in (and Commit to) 3 or 4 Plastic Alternative Solutions 

On your journey to being completely plastic-less (a mountain that not many have climbed), you can certainly consume less plastic. Consider shampoos and soaps that are plastic free, like HiBar (check them out: Buy reusable snack bags and eco-friendly grocery bags. Change your diet or at least shopping patterns so that you’re consuming less of the items that package everything in plastic (FYI – this effort often involves less processed food and subsequently higher grocery bills). 

The point is that you don’t have to be plastic free overnight to make a difference. 

Make a Long-Term Investment

This is where we do a bit of self-praise. The Filtrol is a great investment for your family and for our ecosystem. This easy-to-install after-market washing machine filter is the most effective micro particle laundry filtration system available. A small financial investment protects our environment from the plastic pollution that comes from laundry. The added bonus for families with a septic system: The Filtrol keeps plastics from leaving your home through your laundry’s wastewater. It protects your investment and extends the life of your septic system. 

So join us as we try to help more families make a plastic-less — or at least a less plastic —  commitment. And let us know what you’re doing! We want to hear how much plastic you’ve been consuming and what plastic alternatives you’ve found!

Things You Can Do To Make Your Home More Green

Things You Can Do To Make Your Home More Green

Using the word “green” to describe your level of commitment to a clean, healthy, and well-preserved planet is a relatively new concept. It’s only a decade or two old. But as research on climate change and pollution impacts around the globe has increased, so have conversations around how an individual or family can do their own individual part to slow down the devastations of pollution. 

The pollution impacts around our world are enormous and many of the major sources of it won’t be stopped until the international community takes pro-active and united steps to reform and monitor systems and structures for manufacturing. But that doesn’t mean we should wait until other people, big companies, or government systems make a change. We can all do something now. 

Here are some things that your family can do simply by starting some new habits and making some simple changes in life: 

Stop Using Straws

How many times have you gone through a drive through at a fast food restaurant this year? Imagine if each time you did that, you used your own, reusable straw rather than the single-use one given to you. That simple step can make a big difference. 

Did you know that the average person in the U.S. uses 38,000 plastic drinking straws between the ages of 5 and 65 and that Americans use roughly 500 millions straws every day?!

Reusable Grocery Bags

You knew this one was going to be included. Again, we recognize that one family stopping the use of plastic bags at their local grocery store isn’t going to bring pandas back from the brink of extinction. But it will make your family more of a contributor to good than a contributor to bad. 

Have you ever been to a grocery store where someone bags your groceries and uses just about one plastic bag per item? It will make you stop and catch your breath. So consider making a commitment to use reusable bags from now on and make a small dent in the massive problem. 

Buy Better Clothes

Some people have just gotten the excuse they were looking for to go shopping. Did you know that cheap clothing is often made of synthetic materials? Did you know that “synthetic” in this context essentially means “plastic?” That means that every time you wash that shirt you bought that’s made of polyester, you’re flushing microscopic particles of plastic from your home and into nature. Cheap clothes are made of cheap fabrics. Cheap fabrics are made of plastic, and they shed millions of fibers when they’re washed.

The best solution for stopping microfiber pollution from laundry in its tracks is to buy and install the Filtrol. This easy-to-install, easy-to-maintain water filtration system stops plastics before they leave your home and enter our ecosystem. It’s an easy, no-hassle way to make a tangible impact. 

The problem may seem massive, but there is still plenty that can be done in each of our homes to make a difference. What about you? What is a practical step you and your family can take to slow down the plastic consumption? Things You Can Do To Make Your Home More Green

Plastic’s Impact on Wildlife

Plastic’s Impact on Wildlife

The fight to fend off plastic’s intrusion in our world isn’t just a line item of a political agenda or an effort of professional conservationists. It’s being picked up by people on both sides of political aisles, regardless of how they agree or disagree on myriad of other issues. It’s impacting every corner of our planet and has implications for all of us, and so the fight is one to take seriously. 

Plastic of all sizes is having an impact on wildlife. It’s replacing food for them but never digesting. It’s impacting and disrupting an otherwise resilient ecosystem. From tiny beads of plastic and nearly-invisible strands of synthetic fibers floating down river to plastic bags and strands of knotted fishing lines lodged in the digestive tracts of sea life.

The practical implications to wildlife is something few people truly understand.  

The Fishing Gear Death Toll

World Animal Protection released a report in 2014 — an eternity ago as far as plastic production and pollution are concerned — stating that at least 136,000 seals, sea lions, and whales, as well as “inestimable” number of birds, sea turtles, and other animals, die each year from fishing nets that are discarded. These discarded nets (called ghost-gear) entangle themselves on the ocean floor and float aimlessly and mercilessly through the water. 

The Microplastic Impact

When microscopic particles of plastic (less than 5 mm in size) make their way from your home and into your wastewater, they eventually end up back in streams, rivers, and lakes. They end up in the ocean and in our bottled water and favorite beer. They are in the Great Lakes and in rivers that flow from mountain tops. They are 7 miles under the surface of the ocean and they are in the most remote parts of our planet. And these microplastics are being consumed by the smallest members of the food chain — and subsequently then being consumed all the way up until they’re on our dinner plates.

By far, some of the most exhaustive work we’ve done to research the impacts and implications of plastic on our ecosystem pales in comparison to the work being done by others. For a lengthy read that unpacks some of what was discussed here and yet goes deep into detail with both selective stories of plastic’s deadly impact on specific sea creatures, check out this article from the National Wildlife Federation.Some of the content from this post was pulled directly from their research and writing. 

Solutions that Work

Solutions that Work

Commercial Plastic Pollution and the Way Forward

Plastic pollution comes in all shapes and sizes, from plastic garbage bags and straws to pieces of synthetic materials invisible to the naked eye. The Filtrol is designed to remove microscopic plastics from your home’s laundry and trap them before sending them out into the ecosystem. It is the most effective plastic pollution mitigation and control system on the market, with iteration after iteration of the technology advancing its effectiveness and success.

Commercial Laundry and its Impact in the US

According to statistics released by the National Parks Service a commercial laundry machine uses, on average, 34.7K gallons of water a year. If each load of laundry releases 10-12 million microfibers from the machine and into wastewater, even conservative numbers would make a massive impact on our water and food supplies.

If a commercial laundry machine washes 2.5 loads a day (based on those averages and statistics released by the National Parks Service), at 40 gallons of water per load and 10-12 million microfibers released per load, conservative numbers would look like this:

2.5 Loads per Day x 10,000,000 particles per Load = 23,767,123 Microparticles per Day

The average laundromat has 20-30 machines. So those pollution numbers, conservatively speaking, look more like this:

23,767,123 Pollutants per Day x 20 Machines Per Facility = 475,342,466 Pollutants per Day per Laundromat

There are roughly 18,600 laundromats in the United States, which would mean that nationwide, laundromats make this kind of environmental impact: 

8,841,369,863,013.699 Pollutants per Day (Nationwide, from Laundromats)

For the sake of conversation, consider that if laundromats are operating at that same level for 300 days a year, the annual rate of plastic pollution output by laundromats in the United States would put 2,654,410,958,904,110 microscopic synthetic plastic particles into the environment. In case you’re wondering, that first number is 2 Quadrillion. 

That’s an awful lot of impact to our environment from synthetic fibers. And it makes a compelling case for commercial laundry solutions for plastic pollution. 

We recognize that these numbers are anecdotal, as it assumes that every laundromat is operating 20 of its machines everyday at an average use rate. Add to that the variability that comes with various commercial machine scenarios. Industrial washing machines, like those used at clothing manufacturers or large hotels, hospitals, use more water and operate on a varying basis depending on demand, production schedules, and economic and environmental considerations. 

Consider that beyond your neighborhood laundromat, every motel, hotel, and hospitality business, and every textile and fabric clothing company is spilling obscene amounts of plastic into the environment with each one of their machines. As we continue to research the real implications of plastic’s presence in our environment, Filtrol will continue our efforts to get our plastic pollution solution installed in every home and business in the country.