Overcoming Roadblocks: The Plastic Pollution Problem

The world is full of hardworking people helping to keep microfiber pollution in the conversation and to make it a problem that gets solved rather than a burden that gets bigger. We know that we are just one part of a much larger, global movement. At Filtrol, one of the biggest conversations we have as researchers and experts on plastic pollution is about the roadblocks that get in our way. Some of our challenges can be solved with engineering. Some with more funding or by working together. Some of them require a much bigger, more fundamental shift in our culture.

As much as we can, we’re going to work hard to overcome roadblocks and solve the plastic pollution problem. 

Roadblock 1 – Funding

Research and development costs money. Any time our engineers look to re-examine microfiber pollution and find different ways to stop it from continuing on its path, it costs something. Every iteration of our product is another investment of our resources.  And every investment of our resources is a commitment by our team and network. The work that the Filtrol does to stop plastics from leaving your home came because of engineering innovation. Which, in this context, is really just a fancy word for trying and then trying again and then again…and then again. Which is another fancy word for time and money. 

Roadblock 2 – Education

Many of the challenges that we face in our efforts to solve microfiber pollution exist within the human mind. Many people are not aware of the true extent and implications of plastic in our environment. This lack of awareness or education translates into apathy for many people. And apathy is a brutal adversary. 

So from our perspective, the more we can educate people about the realities around us, the more people we have to join us in our fight for our environment. 

Roadblock 3 – Worthy Competitors

We live in a culture filled with challenges and causes. From the months-long battle against COVID-19 to the shifting cultural tides regarding race relations throughout our country, there are many people fighting for many causes that are serious…and worthwhile.

Each fight takes education, money, and passion. 

At Filtrol, we understand that there are many worthwhile causes being discussed right now. Each cause has significant implications for our culture…for our communities, our country, and for our future. 

The roadblocks that we face in our efforts are not unique to Filtrol. They are, however, something that we must overcome if we are going to make an impact on the world around us. 

We remain as committed as ever to stopping plastic pollution and it’s devastating effects on our environment. We understand that this battle will take a long time, a lot of commitment and dedicated resources. We understand that in this fight, success is measured over long periods of time. 

Will you join us in our cause?

Turning Plastic Into Purpose

How Filtrol is making plastic pollution everyone’s problem with a simple solution.

Most often, an issue doesn’t become significant to someone until they are personally impacted by it. As a Minnesota-based company, we’ve grown up loving the outdoors. Hunting, fishing, hiking, water sports. From frigid winter sledding to hot summer days on the lakes, we love the outdoors. The more we see the massive impact that plastic pollution is having on our world – and especially the impact of microfiber pollution – the more committed we are to our cause.

The solution isn’t an easy one.

Our dependence on plastic seems to grow every day. In fact, there is a certain level of blindness that people tend to succumb to in the area of plastic consumption. It’s not that people are intentionally destructive or dismissive. It’s that familiarity and routine have made us not even notice the everyday decisions we could be making to lessen the impact of plastic on our ecosystem. Single-use plastics. Grocery bags. Water bottles. Cheap clothing. The list is growing every day of items we use that we don’t need to use, of habits we have that we don’t need to have. 

At Filtrol, we realize that plastic isn’t going away any time soon. We also realize (and even appreciate!) the conveniences that plastics have brought to our lives. With that convenience, however, we also recognize a responsibility.

And while we can’t solve all the world’s plastic problems (at least not yet), we can solve one. 

The thousands of microfibers and synthetic materials flushed from your home with every load of laundry can be almost completely eliminated with the simple installation and maintenance of the Filtrol at your home’s laundry station. 

The installation is simple, but the impact is profound. 

Learn more about the Filtrol and how you can stop plastics from leaving your home.
Join the conversation and be part of the solution.

​Plastic of All Sizes (and Unknown Impact)

Since some time in the 1950’s, the world has produced more than 10 million tons of plastic. For those who are counting, that’s 20,000,000,000,000 pounds. This plastic has been used in everything from single-use packaging or production products to toys, clothes, and furniture. It’s everywhere and in everything.

According to this report, we are consuming some 74,000 pieces of plastic each year. And while regulatory committees, federal oversight groups, and legislative bodies assure us that the presence of plastic isn’t constituting a problem, the non-biodegradable evidence would seem to say otherwise. Images of billions of pieces of plastic floating in our world’s oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams are everywhere. Pictures of birds, fish, and sea life with stomachs compacted with pieces of plastic garbage tell a different story.

Considering the sheer volume of plastic in our environment, can we really say that it is safe?

The debate on this topic has been swirling for years. Some plastics are considered less toxic than others. They sometimes contain thousands of different chemicals to make them more or less malleable, sturdier, more versatile, or easier to package, One of the chemicals used in many plastics contains BPA, which has been linked to everything from reproductive issues to asthma, cardiovascular disease, and type-2 diabetes. Read more about BPA’s effects on the human body here.  

We don’t know what all of the implications are to all of this plastic. We know some of the consequences of the use of plastic in our world (like the health effects listed above and the wildlife with stomachs full of it) but we don’t know all of them. The most important thing to remember is that with the massive influx of plastic happening on a daily…even hourly…basis comes a responsibility to protect ourselves, our homes, and our ecosystem from its impacts.

To read a full Consumer Report article related to this topic, click here

To see how Filtrol is fighting to protect our environment and stop plastic in its tracks, click here.

​Many Voices. One Goal.

Plastic Pollution and the Call to Clean Up Our World

Across the country and world are organizations, non-profits, businesses, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, and individuals working tirelessly to stop plastic pollution. While the problem is growing out of control, people are taking a variety of approaches to solving it. Some have adjusted manufacturing practices to reduce plastics in our ecosystem. Some are focused on eliminated synthetic fibers from clothing and others are focused on recycling the synthetics so that plastics at least aren’t entirely invasive and useless after a single use.

Legislation like what is seen here has moved toward national movements to outlaw single-use plastic bags. Clothing companies have gone completely plastic-free. Others have simply tried to make the best of the massive microscopic problem by reducing the use of plastics and making use of the plastics that already exist. Consider Ralph Lauren, for instance, who has started to make clothing made entirely out of plastic bottles.

Some have created solutions to capture microplastics. Since most of the plastics are in the form of microfibers (less than 5 mm in length), they are mostly invisible to the human eye. They are microscopic, and yet just as permanently affixed on our planet as the grocery bag you see blowing down the road or stuck in a sewer drain. Microscopic particles of plastic are found in the most remote parts of earth, even those seemingly untouched by humankind. Filters like Filtrol and tools like the Cora Ball are designed to stop the microplastics from ever leaving a home. 

Not everything about our past can be undone. The countless tons of plastic that have been released into our ecosystem aren’t going away. The concept of a solution to this may seem like an impossible uphill climb or even an altogether useless battle. Our work in addressing plastic pollution won’t undo all the damage that’s been done to wildlife, to the food chain, our drinking water, and even our dinner plates.

But solving the problem of plastic pollution is ultimately about changing our future.

Human innovation will continue to address the plastic that’s already been spewed onto our planet. Some solutions will be more effective than others, and time will tell how effective they are.

The great thing about Filtrol and the work we’re doing is that even our competitors are our friends. We’re all working toward the same goal: to take care of our planet, to do our best to clean up past mistakes, and to work hard to not repeat those mistakes. We’re protecting our planet, preserving its natural resources, and keeping plastic out of our waterways, our wildlife, our food, and our drinking water. 

​Aftermarket Washing Machine Filters – Do You Need One?

When asked about washing machine filters, the response from many consumers is, “What is that?”

As far as pollution mitigation and conservancy goes, washing machine filtration is still a relatively new conversation. It really became a topic of discussion in the mid-2010’s, as companies like Patagonia leading a discussion about taking environmental responsibility for micro-plastics. Since then, it’s a been a steadily growing movement of people who recognize that we cannot shamelessly and thoughtlessly consume without considering the implications of our industrialized society.

Our innovations have a cost. The convenience of one-time-use plastics and manufacturing advancements require some environmental accountability from all of us: as manufacturers, as innovators, and as consumers. We need to be making good choices with our use of plastic while also creating effective solutions for plastic’s impact in our world.

Aftermarket Washing Machine Filters

Do you need a filter for your washing machine?

This is more a question about what you’re washing and where your water goes when it drains from your washing machine. The majority of clothes worn are part of the “Fast Fashion” movement (cheap clothing made of man-made fibers). With each wash, these fabrics shed microscopic fibers that are actually made of plastic. The water that leaves your washing machine — and ultimately your home — is filled with thousands of pieces of plastic. Whether it ends up in your septic or your city’s water treatment system depends entirely on where you live.

But the results are the same. Filtration isn’t catching these plastic particles, and they ultimately end up in our freshwater sources, in our food supplies, and scattered throughout our ecosystem.

The short answer is that you do need an aftermarket washing machine filter. The right one can stop more than 90% of the plastic that would otherwise be dumped into our ecosystem.

At Filtrol, we’re committed to two vital initiatives:

  1. Education – We recognize that most people don’t do anything about the plastic pollution problem in our world because they either don’t know about it or they don’t know what they can do about it. The more they know, the more equipped they are to make a difference.
  2. Solutions – The Filtrol is addressing the problem of microfiber pollution. With each iteration and update to the technology, we are effectively stopping plastic in its tracks and protecting the ecosystem that we value so much.

As you consider whether you should install an aftermarket washing machine filter to your laundry, take a look through some of the resources we’re providing to both educate and equip you for the fight for the environment, our most precious resource.

Plastic Pollution, Drinking Water, and Our Job to Clean Up the Environment

Is plastic pollution in our drinking water killing us?

In August of 2019, the World Health Organization announced that they could not find any measurable connection between plastic-polluted drinking water and health issues in humans. This absence of evidence is not necessarily the evidence of absence. Just because connections haven’t been made between plastic pollution and health problems, that doesn’t mean there’s no effects that will be discovered.

Plastic, after all, is a relatively new invention. It’s just a little over 100 years old.

WHO is not suggesting that plastic-contaminated water is healthy. With scientists predicting that plastic can take 1,000 years or longer to decompose in a landfill, the long-term effects of plastic in our ecosystem and in our bodies has yet to truly be determined. We need more time and more research to determine the true implications of its presence.

It’s About More than Our Health

At Filtrol, our efforts to remove plastic from everyday use so that we can remove it from our ecosystem is about more than effects to our drinking water or our health. 

We want to do everything we can to protect our planet. We are committed to creating a system of accountability for manufacturers who are contributing to the massive amounts of synthetic materials in our natural environment. We are working to engineer the most effective filtration and mitigation solutions to address the massive quantities of synthetic fibers pouring into our environment. We’re addressing the problem for its impact on us, on our food and water, on wildlife, and on the environment we love. 

It’s about more than our drinking water. 

While we don’t yet know the true implications of plastic in our food and water, we do know that we all have a responsibility to protect our planet. At Filtrol, this means that we’re moving forward one day at a time, with new technology, new solutions, and new innovations to stop plastic from ever leaving your home.

​Single-Use Plastics, Pollution, and Coronavirus

It may seem to many to be an odd connection, but the Coronavirus global pandemic has triggered an uptick in the sale, use, and disposal of single-use plastics across the globe.

The reasons for this surge in plastic usage are varied. Some make sense. Some are based in misinformation. Others are somewhat outside of our control.

As people have managed shelter-in-place orders, they’ve relied upon various types of pre-packaged or processed foods, much of which comes packaged in plastic in some capacity. Bottled water, sanitary wipes, hand sanitizer bottles, cleaning agents, disposable masks and gloves…and the list goes on. People have gone to what they believe to be a safer option, with plastics that they can use once and then never touch again.

Not all of these decisions are being made by consumers. Restaurants, only able to provide take-out orders, must package to-go food so it can be delivered or picked up. This most often generates plastic waste. Think of the amount of plastic silverware, containers, and bags that have been used since this pandemic started shutting down life as we know it. 

This plastic influx has been furthered with the standard instituted by many grocery stores that do not allow shoppers to bring in reusable, cloth grocery bags. The fear is that reusable bags can further spread the virus. While no evidence suggests that there’s a calculable difference in risk between those using plastic grocery bags and those using reusable, the point is that our culture has changed. Precaution and concern has forced many of us into positions of plastic use where we previously had the option of being choosier.

And another example of excessive plastic use within this pandemic is best summarized in this article from the World Economic Forum

“And the imperative to prevent the spread of coronavirus means tonnes of medical waste is being generated. For example, hospitals and aged care facilities have been advised to double-bag clinical waste from COVID-19 patients. While this is a necessary measure, it adds to the plastic waste problem.”

Regardless of the reasons, we have to be constantly assessing the impact that our decisions are having on the ecosystem we are so desperately dependent upon. At Filtrol, we understand that situations come up that force our hands to use plastic in ways that damage our planet. We support the efforts being made to end this virus with as little loss of human life as possible. We also remain committed to helping stop the constant and costly release of plastics into our ecosystem.

Lint Interceptors and Commercial Laundry Standards

What is a lint interceptor?

Lint interceptors are often required by municipalities for commercial laundry facilities and laundromats. They are intended to remove lint and other debris from wastewater that gets dumped into city wastewater systems. These municipal systems are not equipped to filter out the lint and debris that commercial laundry equipment flushes out, and so a lint interceptor is installed as an additional line of defense for our water treatment systems and our ecosystem.

Depending on the way that plumbing is structured in the building, the lint interceptor can be installed either directly onto the floor or underneath. Regardless of how it is installed, its the effectiveness of filtration that truly determines whether the solution is adequately protecting our ecosystem from harmful pollutants and plastics.

Do Lint Interceptors Stop Plastic Pollution?

The Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) requires lint interceptors for any commercial laundry machine. These devices are required, by the UPC code, to filter materials down to .5” (half-inch) in size. This standard basically removes large items such as strings and buttons from the wastewater before it enters treatment, but it does little to nothing at all to slow the influx of microplastics into the ecosystem.

For the best available lint interceptor on the market, check out H-M Company, a commercial laundry equipment company out of Cincinnati, Ohio. They make the best standard lint interceptors available on the market. They manufacture custom-fabricated lint traps that can be specifically engineered to a company’s — or a municipality’s — filtration standards. Learn more here

What are some better solutions for lint filtration in commercial laundry facilities?

New lint interceptor technology is currently being developed by Filtrol that will remove both the large particles that are being removed by traditional, commercial-grade filtration solutions and the microscopic particles of lint and microfiber as well. This effort by Filtrol has the goal of drastically reducing microfiber emissions from commercial laundry facilities in hospitals, hotels, and laundry mats. This is especially critical in cities that do not have wastewater treatment technology in place to deal with this constantly-growing environmental concern.

Wondering what you can do to stop plastic before it hits our ecosystem? We can help! 

Plastic and…What Else?

What’s In Your Wash?

Did you know that recycling isn’t solving the problem of plastic? There are some who would cringe at that statement, as though it means that we shouldn’t recycle. The fact of the matter is that recycling is simply making the best of a massive plastic problem, but it’s not solving it.

Recycling is repositioning the plastic problem.

Every time you do your laundry, you’re flushing tens – and even hundreds – of thousands of microfibers down the drain in your wastewater. These microfibers come off of your clothes, and they are microscopic (less than 5mm) pieces of plastic. These microplastics leaves your home, enter your septic or sewage system, and ultimately end up in drain fields and freshwater sources. They’re ultimately found high in the Rocky Mountains, deep within the earth’s natural springs; even the most remote parts of the globe. They’re in our drinking water. They’re being consumed by our food sources. They’re everywhere. 

It’s Bigger than Plastic

But plastic microfibers aren’t all that enter our water from our washing machines. Microparticles of all sorts, shapes, sizes, and sources end up attached to our clothes. They run through our laundry and end up flushed into our environment. From glitter to sheetrock dust and metal shavings, our laundry is wreaking havoc on our environment. 

Some of the particles that escape our homes and enter our ecosystem breakdown or cause minimal lasting issues. Others, however, are much more consequential. In any given load of laundry, you could find:

  • Micro fibers: synthetic and natural fibers from clothing
  • Micro plastics: Glitter, wrappers
  • Micro beads: face wash, toothpastes, detergents
  • Sand, dirt
  • Hair: human and pet
  • Fines such as sheetrock dust
  • Metal shavings
  • Organics: food, grass, etc.

How can we protect our ecosystem from the pollutants in our wastewater? 

The only real way to protect our ecosystem from the plastic being flushed with each load of laundry is to stop the production, distribution, and use of all plastics. Since that’s not going to happen in our lifetime, we have to stop them from ever leaving our homes. 

And we need to stop all of the pollutants that are impacting our environment. 

Filtrol does the job to stop pollutants before they ever leave your home. Our after-market solution is compatible with any washing machine, and it’s solving the microfiber and micro particle pollution problem by filtering the water before it is flushed from your home. Learn more by watching this video.

Start doing your part and Get Back to Real Water

Buy a Filtrol 160 for your home and stop micro-particles from ever leaving your home. 

​How to Add a Filter to your Washing Machine

Synthetic fibers are being manufactured from recycled plastics, and our closets are filled with the leading contributor to plastic pollution in our world. Recycled plastic is being used in the “Fast Fashion” industry, where clothing can be manufactured cheaply. The problem with these synthetic fabrics is how much they shed. With each wash, thousands, and even millions, of microscopic pieces of plastic are being flushed from your washing machine and out with your home’s wastewater.

Modern washing machines do not filter out fine particles or microfibers that are released from your clothing in the washing process. Many new models have coarse filtration to catch large strings and items like buttons. Fine particles that contribute to the synthetic microfiber pollution problem, however, escape the filter.

So if you want to do your part to prevent this hard-to-see pollutant, you will have to install an aftermarket filter.

  • The first step to determine what type of washing machine filter will best suit your needs is to look at the physical space you have available. Aftermarket washing machine filters typically mount on the wall behind or along side your washing machine and require a space 12”t x 8” w x 8” deep.
  • You also have to consider the plumbing and maintenance. The Filtrol, for example, has a lid on the top of the unit that needs to be removed for maintenance so you will need at least 4” of space above the Filtrol so proper servicing.
  • The drain hose that connects the bottom of the filter to your drain pipe must also flow properly or you will create an air lock or the unit will not drain quickly enough.

If you are looking for an example installation,  check out this video on the Filtrol 160 installation.