The Filtrol: One of the Solutions for a Very Big Problem

At Filtrol, we’re from Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes. We grew up fishing and hunting, enjoying the outdoors and doing what we could to protect it and preserve it. Because we care so much about our environment, we are constantly building, innovating, optimizing, and investing in solutions that will help us preserve the outdoors we love so much.

This love for the outdoors is what brought us to become the manufacturer of the Filtrol, which blocks micro plastics from leaving your home and entering the ecosystem. As our journey with micro plastic filtration as unfolded, we developed new products and new strategies to effectively make an impact in our ecosystem. We are preparing to release a sink-mounted version of the Filtrol that is even more effective than our previous versions.

Sharing in our efforts to inform people about the true impact of plastic are groups around the world. Some of them are non-profits who are simply trying to steer the ship toward global change. Some are providing practical solutions to help remedy the problem.

One such organization is the Plastic Pollution Coalition. The PPC is seeking to raise awareness of the worldwide plastic crisis that is impacting our waterways, our wildlife, and our health. They’re doing it with the help of Jeff Bridges (often referred to as “The Dude”), which definitely makes them gain instant credibility in our minds. Their work is educational, legislative, and practical.

Did you know that, based on weight, in 30 years, based on current trends, our oceans will have more plastic than fish in them?! That’s a lot of plastic. By working to eliminate single-use plastics (like that red Solo cup you’re drinking out of) and by seeking to educate people about the true adverse affects of plastic on our ecosystem, the PPC is doing everything it can turn things around.

While the problem may seem enormous, and even too complex to solve, we all have a part to play in the solution. We can all cut down on our single-use plastics. We can stay educated through resources like the Plastic Pollution Coalition. And we can all install simple solutions like the Filtrol to stop micro plastics from leaving our homes and entering our ecosystem.

A Snapshot of Microfiber Pollution: Tampa, Florida

Tampa’s Microfiber Profile…a sobering look at the realities of plastic in our planet’s most plentiful – and most polluted – resource. 

The exact number of plastic particles floating in oceans, lakes, and streams around the world can’t possibly be known. Trillions. Each of these particles are from man-made fabrics and materials. None of them are breaking down.

For just a snapshot of the micro-plastics issue that’s facing our globe, look at Tampa Bay. Here, in this relatively small sampling of ocean water, researchers have discovered 4 billion plastic particles floating back and forth. The majority of these pollutants are fibers that originated in fishing line and nets as well as in synthetic clothing (materials like polyester). The estimate of materials within Tampa Bay is based upon samples taken from several feet below the water’s surface. It doesn’t account for more buoyant particles and it doesn’t speak to areas just outside the immediate area or samples of water from deeper in the ocean.

While it may seem logical and prudent to try to remove these particles from our waterways, history, technology, and experience is showing us that the pieces are far too many over a space far too vast. Given existing resources and technology, removing these particles is not a feasible option. Even a massive, dedicated undertaking will yield very little in terms of measurable results or improvements in the condition of water. Micro-particles of plastic and manmade fibers that are 5 mm in length or smaller have been discovered as far away as the Arctic, and many of these pieces will be in our water for more than a lifetime. With trillions of them being introduced into our ecosystem daily, and with not real way to remove them, our options to address this problem are limited.

Kinsley McEachern, the author of the Tampa Bay study and a Environmental Science and Policy student, noted that, ”Only by removing the sources of plastics and micro-plastic particles can we successfully decrease the potential risks of plastics in the marine environment.”

The solution is in stopping the pollution where it starts. We must engineer solutions that stop the microfibers from ever entering our ecosystem. If we can do that, and if we can begin to generate movements that cause us to cut back on plastic use and allow us to rethink how we dispose of it, we can begin to see changes in the years to come.

Check out what Filtrol is doing to put the brakes on microfiber pollution, check out .

Ralph Lauren – Making the Best of Plastic Pollution

This month, Ralph Lauren debuted a line of polo shirts made entirely of plastic bottles. While they aren’t the first clothing line to release such products, they are among the most well-known. For Ralph Lauren, each “green” polo (which comes in a variety of colors) is made of 12 plastic bottles that would otherwise remain trash for eternity (or at least for the 450-1000 years that it takes for plastic bottles to decompose).

At Ralph Lauren, they acknowledge that they are simply making the best of a bad situation. These plastic bottles have already been manufactured and have then been discarded. Manufacturing these shirts is simply repurposing the plastic that is already staying in our ecosystem. This isn’t solving the problem of plastic pollution…it’s redefining it. 

As this article states, “the broader question of biodegradability of such fibers remains unresolved. For Polo Earth, the story is about recycling and reusing, David Lauren, the company’s chief innovation officer, said. ‘Right now, we’re trying to make sure that what we produce is as good for the environment as possible, or at least helps clean up another problem. Are we creating a new problem? I think we’re creating solutions, or at least trying to find solutions.’”

You can read the full article here.

At Filtrol, we appreciate the tactics taken by companies like Ralph Lauren, making the best of the big plastic problem that’s plaguing us. We also understand, however, that these fabrics that they’re manufacturing are pushing out millions of micro plastics into our ecosystem. Those plastics enter our water sources, our foods, and eventually our bodies. 


The plastic pollution problem isn’t going away any time soon. But there’s certainly more we can all be doing. To find out more what you can do to stop plastic pollution, click here

Liquid, Powders, and Pods Oh My!

How do you choose which laundry detergent to toss into our shopping cart? Do you choose the one with the the cute stuffed animal snuggling with all amazingly soft and great smelling towels? Do you choose the cheapest option? Is your choice based on what’s popular or what a celebrity endorses? Or maybe it’s what’s best for the environment?

There are just too many variables to really talk through all the options. 

So rather than focusing on brands and reasoning behind choice, let’s look at the 3 different forms of laundry detergents and talk about what’s worth talking about.

What do we need to know about each form? Is there anything beyond the simple question of “Will it clean your clothes?” 

LIQUID

Liquid detergents are said to work great on items soiled with oils, grease and food. It can also be used as a spot cleaner (unlike the other forms) and is pre-dissolved and can be used with any water temperature. Unfortunately, liquid detergents usually have a higher price point than powder detergents and their plastic containers are not eco-friendly.

POWDER

Powder detergents are usually less expensive compared to liquid and pod detergents. Most powder detergents are packaged in cardboard boxes making it more eco-friendly than others choice of packaging. The downfall with powder detergents is that it can be hard to dissolve in some water conditions, such as hard water. When this happens, clumps of detergent can remain in your load of laundry.

PODS

It’s all the rave. They’re convenient, compact and user-friendly. The pre-measured amount of liquid detergent is conveniently wrapped up in a small gel pac. It eliminates measuring and waste and will dissolve in all water conditions. The Downfalls? With detergent pods, you will be paying for the convenience. They have the highest price point between the three choices. Pods have also gained a lot of media attention due to the serious health hazards they cause and are not recommend in households with children. 

So what form will you take, Liquid, Powder or Pod? Whichever you choose, be aware of the hazards and hangups with each one. 

Image Credit: Julie & HeidiPete,https://www.yourbestdigs.com/reviews/best-laundry-detergent/

Synthetic Fibers vs Natural Fibers

The list of fibers in fabrics is endless. No matter how many there may be, they can all be placed in one of two categories: Synthetic or Natural. What makes a fabric one or the other? Does it matter?

Any textile that is man-made is considered to be a synthetic fiber fabric and any textile made from a form of plant or animal is considered a natural fiber fabric.

Some Facts about Synthetic and Natural Fibers: 
The Good, The Bad, and the Plastic

Although these lists are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to comparison, they show you that, like everything, both categories have their positives and negatives. The biggest negative to synthetic, man-made fibers, is that they most often made of non-biodegradable plastics. This means that they will never break down (at least not in our lifetime) and microscopic versions of them will end up in our water sources and eventually in our food. 

Take a Look for Yourself

Look at some of the tags on the clothes in your own closet. You just may be surprised by all the different types of fibers used to compile that fabulous wardrobe.

In reality, 60% of all clothing made today is made with synthetics, so it may be a bit of a task to find something that is completely free of any synthetic fiber. There are a number of clothing companies and brands that are passionate about using only organic, non-toxic and eco-friendly materials. If you are thinking it’s time to go all natural, try researching eco-friendly clothing brands and you will be shocked by how many there really are. Eco Friendly Fashion Brands is just one place you can find a list of brands that are all natural.

Make sure to keep checking your labels and be aware of what you’re wearing.

Image Credit: putri macan

Top 5 Laundry Tips To Help Prevent Microfiber Pollution

Your washing machine is producing an alarming amount of microfibers with every load of laundry. While some fabrics and materials tend to shed more than others and older fabrics tend to shed more than newer ones, in the end, everything sheds. If it’s fabric, it’s going to break down over time. 

Tip 1: Wash your clothes less: Refrain from washing certain articles of clothing unless they are truly dirty. The more you wash an article of clothing, the more it sheds. Washing your clothes ages them. Older garments tend to shed much more than new ones. So consider washing your clothes less and spot cleaning as necessary.

Tip 2: Buy clothing made from natural fibers: Natural fibers like cotton, wool, hemp and silk are all biodegradable, meaning in time they will biodegrade if they are released into the environment. Synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon, rayon and spandex are plastic non-biodegradable. They will never biodegrade after being released from your washing machine. They are pushed out of your washing machine and into your wastewater. Eventually they end up in our water sources and food. 

Tip 3: Avoid doing small loads: Doing large loads of laundry will reduce the friction between the numerous pieces of clothing. This means less fibers are being released. If possible, wait to do a load of laundry until you have a full load. 

Tip 4: Choose Front Loading vs. Top Loading Washing Machine: Studies have found that front-loading washing machines cause less shedding than top-loading washing machines because front-loading machines use lower levels of water. Also, top-loading machines have a center agitator, which causes more friction which causes more shedding.

Tip 5: Consider a lint filter for your washing machine: Most washing machines do not incorporate a lint filter within the machine. For those that do, the effectiveness is unknown. If you’re concerned about microfibers being released from your washing machines, a lint trap or filter should be considered. Some research is required to find which would be the best option for your set up. 

You could start by checking out The Filtrol160 , our revolutionary microfiber lint filter for your washing machine. 

                    Follow these 5 simple tips when doing your laundry and you will be on your way to reducing

                                                             microfiber pollution before you know it! 

Is That A Fiber In My Fish?

Microfibers in Our WaterYou may not see them with the naked eye but they are there. Microfibers may go unnoticed to us, but to fish, shellfish, and other aquatic animals, they look like a meal. To get an idea of how small they really are, check out these fibers we collected in one of our Filtrol160 filter bags during a load of laundry:
 

So Why Are Microfibers a Big Deal?

First, we need to understand what a microfiber is. Microfibers are tiny fibers that are shed from your clothing every time they are washed. Now some of those fibers may be natural and will in time biodegrade. But most of our clothing – 60% of our clothing today – is made from what is called synthetics, which is a man-made product of plastic. It is non bio-degradable, which means that it doesn’t go away, even in its most microscopic form. Thousands of these fibers go down the drain along with the waste water from your washing machine. That water then moves to your local waste water treatment plant to be filtered.

Does Water Treatment Stop Microfibers?

Although waste water treatment plants can remove anywhere between 85%- 95% of the pollutants in the water it processes, it does not remove microfibers. Because of the size of the microfibers, 65 million of them are still sneaking through the system on a daily basis. Once they get through the waste water treatment process, they are released into local water ways like lakes, rivers, and oceans.

What Happens to Microfibers in Nature?

Now all of those tiny plastic microfibers are in our water and they’re not going anywhere good. Once there, these fibers do something very much like a snowball effect. They start attracting toxics found in the water, building layers of harmful contaminants. Due to their small size they become appealing to something else that is small, microorganisms like plankton. 

Welcome to the food chain microfibers.

Once the plankton ingests a microfiber, it can remain in their system for hours and can also have negative effects on their eating habits. Plankton is a main food source for many aquatic animals such as shrimp, crab, clams, and all sizes of fish. Up the food chain those microfibers go. Can you guess the next link that has the pleasure of ingesting the unwanted fibers? You guessed it. Us. When we can’t resist an awesome sushi bar or an all you can eat shrimp and fish fry, we’re actually consuming microfibers. Thousands and thousands of them. 

Here’s a visual of everything I just explained (because who doesn’t love pictures in a story).

Keep fibers off your plate!

There are ways to reduce to the amount of microfibers reaching our waterways. One way would be installing a lint filter that attaches directly to your washing machine discharge hose. With this, you would be preventing the microfibers from ever leaving your house. Check out our lint filter – the Filtrol160 – and keep those fibers out of your food. 

Use This – Not That: Alternatives To Plastic

Whether walking along the street or the beach, you’re bound to run into some shape or form of plastic. It’s a world wide problem. Plastic is everywhere we look…and there’s a reason for that. It’s convenient, durable and easy to dispose of. But as much as we might want to believe it, plastic cannot be an “Out-of-Site, Out-of-Mind” issue. Every piece of plastic ever made is still out there somewhere, and that’s not good for the environment and wildlife.

We have all seen pictures of birds and sea life tangled in plastic rings, bellies full of small pieces of plastic and straws lodged somewhere they can’t remove themselves. It’s the horrific reality these animals face daily, so why not do our part to prevent this from happening.

There’s a way to end the trend of plastic use by using their alternatives. While there may not be an alternative for everything, it’s not hard to start making some simple, eco-conscious decisions when it comes to our daily habits. 

Check out the Use THIS Not THAT graph below for some alternative ideas:

Rules we should all try to live by is choose reusable over single use and recycle, recycle, recycle! Like mentioned before, every piece of plastic ever made still exists, it takes an estimated 450 years for a single piece of plastic to decompose. Compare that to paper products, which decompose in 2-6 weeks.

So let’s end the trend of single-use plastics, and we can all do our part to take care of the environment.

How To Maintain Your Filtrol160

Your Filtrol160 should provide you with many amazing, productive years of filtering fun..but only if its maintained. If you are a proud Filtrol160 owner, then you know it is not a set-it-and-forget-it type products. The Filtrol requires a little bit of maintenance. Not everything below needs to be done each time you make a visit to your laundry room, but it’s always good practice to keep them in mind to ensure your Filtrol160 a long and happy life. 

Now here’s an idea..click HERE to get a larger version of the very helpful reminder checklist above, print it out and hang it right there next to your Filtrol160. If you’re really feeling adventurous, you could go the extra mile and laminate the checklist so you can use a dry erase marker on it. You’ll never forget to check in on your trusted filter again!   

The process of proper maintenance for the Filtrol is an important part of it’s performance. And as you have questions or need consultation on anything related to microfiber pollution, let us know. We’re here to help!          

Fish Outnumbered By Microfibers

It is said that by the year 2025, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans. We’re not just talking water bottles, candy wrappers and plastic shopping bags. One of the leading contributors of plastic pollution happens to be microfibers.

When you hear the word microfiber, your thoughts most likely go right to those super soft cleaning rags you just had to buy at some house party. Unfortunately, the microfiber we’re talking about is the tiny plastic fibers used to make your clothing. Wait..PLASTIC? Yup, any clothing made with polyester, nylon, spandex, to name a few, is made with non-biodegradable plastic microfibers.

Bren School of Environmental Science and Management and popular clothing company, Patagonia, teamed up and conducted a number of studies focused on microfiber pollution. One study found that the United States alone, could be releasing more than 750,000 pounds of microfibers into oceans and steams, DAILY! 

There’s no way it can get to be that much? According to studies, only one load of laundry could release more than 700,000 plastic microfibers. Now I’m no good at math but just in the US, there are 325.7 million people, and even if half of those people do laundry regularly, that’s a whole lot of microfibers being shed and released into waterways.

All of us can bring those numbers down by doing something less painful then ditching most of your wardrobe because it’s made with fabrics containing synthetic fabrics that shed microfibers. By installing a lint filter directly to your washing machine discharge hose you will stop those microfibers dead in their tracks. There are different methods and products used to catch shed microfiber but we suggest trying the Filtrol 160 – Microfiber Lint Filter. It’s easy to install and maintain and by looking at the filter bag after just one wash you will be surprised by how much your clothes really do shed. 

Check out these videos to learn more about the Filtrol 160 today!