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: 

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. 

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.