Solving the Problem of Plastic Pollution – One Innovation at a Time

At Filtrol, we’ve spent the last several years finding new, more effective ways to solve the massive problem of micro-plastic pollution in our ecosystem. With each wash with your laundry machine you’re washing thousands of micro-particles of plastic and synthetic materials into your home’s wastewater (and eventually into drinking water sources). This microscopic problem needs a massive solution to stop the pollution in its tracks. 

Each updated version of the Filtrol over the years has been a more complete solution than the one before. Each iteration of the Filtrol has relied upon the lessons we’ve learned from our past versions of the Filtrol. Hours upon hours of research, studying, A/B testing, and trial and error have helped us create a more effective answer to the plastic pollution problem. 

Endless Testing Has Meant R&D

At Filtrol, we have a laboratory that has been the place of testing for hundreds and hundreds of loads of laundry. This basement workshop has been a place that we’ve tried all sorts of different ideas for stopping plastic pollution in its tracks. We’ve designed filters made of different materials. We’ve tried multiple variations of installations, which has changed the way we service and maintain the Filtrol and the way we measure success with it. We’ve washed different fabrics at different temperatures. We’ve washed brand new synthetic fabrics and we’ve worn fabrics out by repeatedly washing them. 

These hours of tests have given us the most thorough solution to microfiber pollution available on the market. And our work is continuing. 

We know that there’s more we can do to make the Filtrol more effective and more accessible for people around the globe. We know that there’s more we can do to protect our planet from the tsunami of plastic pollutants being found in even the most remote parts of our planet. 

Plastic didn’t get here without innovation, and it’s not going away without it either. That’s why our work at Filtrol is continuing. 

5 Centuries of Decomposition

Did you know that it can take up to 500 years for certain pieces of plastic to decompose (if it ever decomposes!). Specifically looking at polystyrene, the packing materials often used for poultry and meat packing, egg cartons, and for shipping (among other things) can be here for centuries. It gets washed into our water supplies and dumped into our streets. Even the pieces that are properly disposed of will not leave our environment. Man-made, chemically-engineered materials like polystyrene are convenient and yet incredible costly. 

As consumers, it’s about more than reading the data or hearing the facts. We need to know what’s happening in relation to our environment, our manufacturing standards, our recycling effort if we’re ever going to know our path forward. 

Education

It’s important that we be educated on many fronts in this discussion. An understanding of what’s happening in manufacturing standards, legislation efforts, and plastic pollution mitigation can help us make the right and necessary strides toward protecting our environment. 

The more you research, the more you’ll discover. More and more research has gone into the topic of plastic pollution over the past several years. The costly impacts on our ecosystem by manufacturing breakthroughs are beginning to be measured in very practical ways.

Action

Moving your efforts to understand plastic pollution should result in action at some point. Getting involved can mean volunteering for a local plastic pollution cause. It can mean pushing for tighter restrictions in the manufacturing of toxic products like polystyrene. It can also mean fundraising and giving to causes that are making a difference. 

Action can also be as simple by making small changes in your own life. Using less one-time use plastics and supporting plastic-free initiatives like bringing your own grocery bags take little effort but make a big difference. And while it may seem to make a microscopic impact on such a massive issue, that’s just fine. Because as we’ve learned from plastic pollution itself, that which is microscopic can have a massive impact! 


Installing a Filtrol is one great way to start making a difference with the amount of plastic that’s ending up in our environment. To get yours, click here

Getting Back to Real Water

Getting Back to Real Water

Removing Plastic and Attacking Pollution with Filtrol

Plastic has been around for over a century. Demands for convenience and lower cost have made it an essential part of our manufacturing. It is present in just about every facet of life, from the food we eat to the cars we drive, plastic is playing a part everywhere we look. Our kids are playing with it. Our chefs are cooking with it. It’s everywhere. 

All waterways eventually make their way to our oceans. This makes the ocean the ultimate destination of every waterway around the world. From our wastewater to creeks, streams, and rivers, water flows toward the oceans. As this water flows, it picks up pollutants along the way. 

And these pollutants aren’t always visible. 

A simple Google search will reveal plastic’s presence as pollution in our environment in various forms. From large pieces of debris floating in the ocean to microscopic particles of plastic being ingested by tiny ocean life, plastic is everywhere. The actual presence of plastic in our environment have been observed since at least the late 1960’s, when a group of scientists observed microplastics in the ocean when studying plankton. And since first being discovered, many efforts have been taken to stop plastic pollution. 

The effort to stop plastic pollution from its widespread impact on our ecosystem has taken on many forms over the years. Some groups are trying to remove plastic already in our environment. Various technologies have been tested, developed, and deployed to gather up the plastics of all sizes that are polluting our land and water. Movements have been started to pick up trash and clean up our water. Some are trying to stop plastic from being produced, championing the use of biodegradable, environmentally-friendly products rather than synthetic plastics. These efforts are sometimes simple grassroots awareness campaigns that encourage consumers to support green companies. Other times, these efforts are effecting legislation, manufacturing protocols, and global platforms for discussion. Others are trying to stop plastic pollution in its tracks. New technologies and innovations are capturing plastic before it ever leaves our manufacturing facilities, our water treatment plants, and our homes.

At Filtrol, we’re stopping plastic pollution before it ever leaves your home. And we’re proud to partner with companies around the global who are part of the effort to protect our planet. 

If you haven’t installed a Filtrol at your home’s laundry tub, now is the time.

It’s a simple installation, a small investment, and a massively impacting decision. 

Not All Plastic is Equal

Not All Plastic is Equal

At Filtrol, we have committed all that we are to putting a stop to plastic pollution, and some types of plastic are taking a bigger toll on our environment than others. About 8 million tons of plastic are entering our oceans each year. With so many issues to address and so much plastic already released into the environment, it’s hard to know where to start. From researching plastic’s long-term impact to developing tools and technologies to deal with it, the issues, topics, discussions, and challenges of plastic pollution are a global conversation with massive implications. 

But…Did you know that not all plastic pollution is equal? 

Some plastic pollutants have proven to be more damaging and impacting to our ecosystem than others. According to this article from Maritime Executive, fishing debris, plastic bags, balloons and plastic utensils are the most impacting plastic pollutants in our oceans. Each of them have a different impact, and each of them require a different strategy to address. 

Sometimes a single piece of plastic has a direct impact on wildlife, such as when a piece of fishing gear or a plastic piece obstructs a whale’s digestive tract or pierces a sea animal’s stomach. Other times, a steady consumption of microscopic pieces of plastic leads to a build up of the pollution over time. The impacts to the natural order of our ecosystem are still being measured. 

So what can be done?

Like you’ve probably heard before and will certainly hear again, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to the plastic pollution problem. We need to change our manufacturing standards. We need to change our habits and values. We need to upgrade our technology and update our equipment. 

We need technology that will capture microscopic plastic particles and we need tech that will capture large pieces. We need manufacturing that will eliminate the use of harmful plastics and we need innovations that will capture plastics before they’re released into our ecosystem. We need legislative support that will help us with each of these. 

At Filtrol, we will stay the course we’re on. We’re not just stopping microplastics from leaving your home through your laundry’s wastewater (which happens to be one of the primary sources of microfiber pollution), we’re developing more effective solutions. We’re working together with other likeminded groups to go further, accomplish more, and make a bigger impact. 


Join our fight to protect our environment from this onslaught of plastic. 

Exponential: Plastic’s Presence to Triple within 20 Years

At current rates of pollution, our planet’s oceans will have three times as much plastic in them by 2040 than they do now. This expected exponential increase in plastic is an indication that common solutions and simple changes in behavior aren’t going to suffice. As much as we encourage people to not use disposable plastic grocery bags or to change their face soap, plastic is continuing to enter our ecosystem at an alarming rate.

According to a new analysis published in the journal of Science, with the tech that’s available today, plastic in our oceans could be eliminated by as much as 80%. Further advancements of existing solutions coupled with research and development of new solutions could inch us globally closer to that 100% containment marker. 

But 100% containment of plastic pollution in our oceans is a bigger hurdle than advancing technology forward. 

The only solution that is going to work has to be bigger than a simple change in behavior or an advancement in tech. It has to involve something much more collaborative and much more  innovations in technology, international buy-in, significant financial backing, and a commitment from people everywhere to accept changes in daily routines and convenience. In summary: This problem is complex enough that it’s not going to be solved simply.

Read the full article from the World Economic Forum here.

To see what Filtrol is doing to do our part to get us closer to 100% containment, watch this video.

A Piece of the Plastic Puzzle

The global plastic problem continues to grow and the implications for our world and for the generations to follow are still being measured. Plastic is being found in the most remote parts of the earth: at the deepest parts of the ocean; high in the mountains; deep in the woods; far out into the middle of nowhere. It’s being detected everywhere and its impact is still being deciphered. 

It’s a complex problem being fed by manufacturing, by consumerism, by production processes, and by recycling standards. It’s being perpetuated by habits and lazy behaviors and being ignored by world leaders and CEOs. 

At Filtrol, we are one piece of the puzzle. 

Our easy-to-install, easy-to-maintain lint filter stops more than 90% of the microfiber and plastic particles being flushed out of your washing machine’s wastewater. By stopping the microplastics before they leave your house, they’re not able to enter the ecosystem. When these plastics aren’t stopped, they enter the water treatment system, working their way past filtration systems in municipal treatment plants and back into nature. They find themselves in freshwater sources, food sources like fish and birds, and eventually onto our dinner plates. Millions upon millions of plastic particles are pushed into our ecosystem daily.

We know that our technology at Filtrol has a significant role in how this plastic pollution narrative plays out. Plastic pollution, after all, isn’t going to be solved only with a simple advancement in technology or a single policy decision in Washington or in the international community. It is going to require something much bigger than a washing machine filter. It will require international buy-in. It will require policies and standards that will be followed. It will require funding and follow through. 

And we’re here to fill in our piece of the puzzle. 

To see how Filtrol will make a difference to your home’s plastic pollution output, watch here: 

Filtrol: An Easy Answer to a Hard Question

The man-made materials in plastic are engineered to not break down. Even recycling them doesn’t remove them from our ecosystem but merely repurposes them. So what are the impacts of these particles entering our water, our food, and our bodies? 

That’s a hard question to aswer. 

The questions surrounding microfiber pollution are abundant. Since it’s known that adults consume approximately a credit card amount of plastic every week, we know that plastic is quite literally becoming part of us. What we don’t know, however, is what this presence of plastic in our world is going to mean for us in ten, twenty, or even 100 years. 

BPA, the synthetic, industrial chemical with which plastic and various resins are manufactured, were introduced into our ecosystem, our food, water — and ultimately our bodies — in the 1960’s. As years have progressed since this time, plastic manufacturing has exponentially multiplied, releasing more into the environment and more into our bodies. The presence of plastic in our food and water logically means the presence of the toxins in synthetically manufactured BPA. 

Even now, relatively early into our data collection of its impacts, we are seeing plastic that is consumed having links to the endocrine system. Issues with metabolism, heart rate, digestion, and fertility can rise when the endocrine is effected. And while the full implications of these chemicals in our bodies haven’t fully been discovered and researched, the time to make progressive steps forward is now. 

As the research continues, we should remain committed to truly understanding the impacts of our manufacturing on our health and ecosystem. We should also do all that we can to stop these microscopic particles from the ability to pollute. 

At Filtrol, we’re stopping plastic pollution at its source. The majority of plastic pollution enters our environment through our laundry’s wastewater. As a washing machine spits out wastewater after a rinse cycle, it is also spitting out hundreds of thousands of plastics that the laundry has shed through the washing cycle. At relatively little cost, easy installation, and little maintenance, the plastic is stopped in its tracks. 

We may not have all the answers yet to the questions about plastic microfiber pollution and its impact on our world. But we do have the answer to the question of how to stop it. Buy a Filtrol and do your part to stop plastic from being a permanent part of our ecosystem. 

Bottle-Fed Babies are Eating Much More Plastic Than We Ever Thought

Plastic pollution does not discriminate. Across the country and around the world, we’re seeing the impacts of plastic pollution on what would be considered our most remote locations. High in the mountains and miles deep in the ocean, plastic is showing itself to be present. It makes its way from our home, through our laundry’s wastewater, and into our environment. From there it goes into our wildlife, our food, and our drinking water. 

Recent studies are showing that this permeating problem of plastic is disproportionately impacting the youngest of consumers, as baby bottles are actually shedding millions of particles of plastic with each use. 

The problem isn’t necessarily the bottle itself (even though the bottle is made of a propylene that is a synthetic material known for not breaking down). The problem is the process by which a bottle is prepared for a baby. Because babies’ food must be warmed before it is consumed, these plastic bottles are being put through a process of warming with each feeding. Whether using a bottle warmer, on a stove top, or in a microwave, the warming process is instigating the shedding of millions and millions of microscopic pollutants – directly into the baby’s digestive system. 

Many of these microplastics are processed by the body and make their way into diapers. But like all areas of microfiber pollution research, this is still a relatively young study. The synthetic materials of plastic are relatively young in our world. We still don’t know the long-term implications and negative side effects of consuming the amounts of plastic our world is consuming with each meal and drink. 

According to the Guardian, the group that compiled this research and tracks much of the narrative around pollutants like these in our world, babies in the United States alone are consuming as many as 2.5 million particles of plastic every day! 

As we continue to see new research tell us how much plastic is impacting in our ecosystem, we continue to be amazed at its far-reaching potential. We already knew it was in our streams, rivers, and oceans. It’s in the food chain and subsequently in our bodies. And now seeing how it’s impacting our tiniest members of society at an even higher rate, it’s essential that we do something to stop it. 

FILTROL: Keeping Nature Natural

Filtrol is based in Minnesota.

90,000 miles of shoreline. More than 10,000 lakes. The headwaters of the Mississippi River. 

Whether we’re paddling through the serene waters of the BWCA, walleye fishing on Lake of the Woods, or disappearing into an afternoon of water sports, we’re known for water in Minnesota. And at Filtrol, we love the water and everything about the outdoors. We grew up hunting and fishing, enjoying the north woods and surviving crazy winters. We love the landscapes, the seasons, and the culture. Minnesota is our home…even if it’s not for everyone.

But we understand that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to our serene landscapes and idyllic lakeside cottages. There are parts of Minnesota that look pristine, seemingly untouched by humanity. 

Until you look closer. 

Millions of pounds of plastic ends up in our planet’s water supplies, much of it going unseen. Thousands of microplastics are flushed into our ecosystem with each load of laundry. These microscopic pollutants end up in the most remote parts of our country. Deep in Minnesota’s boundary waters. Even far away, high up in the Rocky Mountains. Plastic is everywhere. 

FILTROL – Back to Real Water

Between the research we’ve done, the solutions we’ve built, and the opportunities we’re pursuing, we have begun to see real, measurable change happening in the world around us. Plastic is being stopped in its tracks everywhere that a Filtrol is installed. New iterations of the solution now nearing production are showing even greater potential to solve this plastic pollution problem. 

If you haven’t seen how the plastic pollution can be stopped in its tracks with the Filtrol, check out this video. To place an order, click here

Ocean-Bound Plastic: What It Is and What It Isn’t

A professor from the University of Georgia, Dr. Jenna Jambeck, published an article in the popular magazine Science that defined “ocean-bound” as a principle for understanding both the track and impact of plastic pollution. The article, available by logging in here, shines light on the existence of plastic in our ecosystem and also on its track through (or around) our treatment systems.

Ultimately, the majority of plastic does not end up in the ocean but in various other pockets of our ecosystem.

As the research and technology has expanded over the past 5 years since this article was published, advanced processes and systems have been put in place to help members of the scientific community — members like Dr. Jambeck — study, track, and solve the plastic pollution conundrum in front of us. Plastic is still entering our ecosystem. Metric ton upon metric ton of it is still ending up in our oceans, but much of it ends up in freshwater sources and in other deposits around the globe. 

Ocean-bound plastic is only part of the problem!

We could (and eventually will) dig deeper into exactly where plastics released into our ecosystem are ending up. The argument posed in Sustainable Brands, for instance, contends that ocean-bound is a far too limiting term, as it limits the conversation to pieces of garbage (in this instance, plastic garbage) that are literally being tossed directly into the ocean or are being washed into it before much times passes. It does not unpack the journey of the plastic spoon that is thrown onto the ground just a few miles inland from the coast. 

And it’s garbage that is not being properly categorized or managed that needs to be part of the bigger conversation. It’s leading many environmentalists to change their understanding of what an honest conversation about plastic pollution really entails.

A comprehensive plan to solve plastic pollution is about much more than the plastic in our oceans. It’s about the plastic in our world. 

Continue to follow this conversation by reading the full article.

Read the original publication about ocean-bound plastics from Dr. Jambeck.

And stay connected to us at Filtrol, as we continue our fight to get back to real water and stop plastic pollution in its tracks.