Everything You Need to Know About Plastic and How to Take Action

Plastic is a part of our everyday life. From our morning routine of brushing our teeth to our cozy pajamas before bedtime, plastic is hard to avoid. But what exactly is plastic? And how did it become so integral to our day-to-day? 

What is plastic? 

Plastic is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring polymer. Polymers are any substance of repeating materials and can be either malleable or hardened. Some examples of naturally occurring polymers are tortoise shells or animal horns, cellulose, or tar. Plastic on the other hand, while derived from natural materials, is created through a synthetic process. 

How is plastic made? 

The process of making plastic starts with raw substances such as coal, natural gas, crude oil, or cellulose. It is then broken down into singular particles called monomers. These monomers are then linked back together to create two different versions of materials that can either create hard plastics or softer more malleable plastics. 

What is the history of plastic? 

While different versions have plastics have been created throughout all of history, the first fully synthetic plastic was created in 1907. This marked the beginning of the popularity of plastics, but World War II was the catalyst for mass production. Because of a shortage of other more natural resources during the war, plastic products such as rubber, nylon, and plexiglass became essential. The production of plastic rose 300 percent during this time and paved the way for it to become widely available to the general public after the war. 

Why is plastic problematic today?

While plastic has certainly given way to the affordability and versatility of many products, it has also become a global health and environmental concern. Because of the synthetic nature of plastic, it cannot be naturally broken down taking as long as hundreds of years to biodegrade creating microplastic pollution that can be harmful to human bodies. It is also the main polluter of oceans and the production of plastic releases toxic fumes into the atmosphere.

What can I do about the plastic issue? 

While there are several ways that you can take action against plastic pollution, the easiest way is to reduce your overall plastic use. Choose non-plastic products or plastic alternatives when you shop.
Filtrol is working hard to be part of the solution. Our products can help you reduce microplastic pollution, one load of laundry at a time. Find out which Filtrol product is right for you.

4 Ways You Can Cut Down on Plastic Waste this Holiday Season

The Holiday season is around the corner and that comes with a lot of festivities, gifts, and get-togethers. It can also come with lots of plastic and waste. But it doesn’t have to. We’ve put together 4 simple ways that you can cut down on plastic waste in the coming months of celebration. 

Use Natural Products to Decorate and Wrap Gifts

Instead of buying cheap decorations, use natural materials such as logs, twigs, pinecones, popcorn, wool, paper, twine, etc. Get creative and involve your friends and family in making something truly magical for your holiday decorations. The same goes for wrapping presents. Choose more natural wrapping paper without wax or chemical finishes. You can even use fabrics or blankets to wrap gifts as an extra bonus! Tie it up with twine and decorate it with holly, reusable bells, or pinecones for a festive touch. 

Avoid Gifts with Plastic Packaging

It can be tricky to find something from everyone’s list that doesn’t come in plastic packaging. Look for more sustainable gifts that can be used instead. Even if you can’t avoid plastic completely, you can still do your best to reduce the number of presents you are purchasing that have plastic packaging. 

Serve Meals without Disposable Dinnerware

What are the Holiday without snacks, treats, and sitting down together at the table for a homecooked meal? With lots of company over, it can be tempting to use disposable plates, cups, napkins, and cutlery. We encourage you to use that fine china your grandma gave you, or even just your normal everyday plates and silverware. You can always recruit help washing dishes afterward. If you do need to use disposable, try looking for an eco-friendly option such as a compostable or biodegradable set. 

Do your Holiday Shopping with Reusable Bags

Holiday festivities come with a lot of shopping. One of the easiest ways that you can reduce plastic pollution is by skipping single-use plastic shopping bags and shopping with reusable bags instead. Whether you are grocery shopping for Thanksgiving dinner or finding everyone the perfect gift on their Christmas list, reusable fabric shopping bags can keep plastic from polluting the environment. 

When it comes to plastic pollution, we know that it is nearly impossible to cut out plastic altogether. But if we all do our part to reduce the amount of plastic that makes it into the environment and releases harmful microplastics. If you’re looking for the perfect gift and a way to reduce plastic pollution, buy your loved one a Filtrol for the Holidays! 

3 Ways That You Can Stop Microplastic Pollution

Microplastic pollution is a growing issue affecting every corner of the earth. It has been found in our food, drinking water, digestive systems, lungs, and blood. These microscopic polluters are riddled with contaminants that have the potential to cause further harm to humans and wildlife alike.

Reduce Your Plastic Use

One of the ways that microplastics are created is by the breakdown of larger plastic products and packaging. The more you can reduce your plastic consumption, the fewer microplastics are released. There are a lot of simple ways to reduce plastic use. Avoid single-use plastics when buying groceries or bath products, and switch to reusable shopping bags and storage containers. Learning proper recycling practices can also aid in the fight against microplastic pollution.

Be Conscious of the Fabrics You Buy

Synthetic fabrics such as polyester, nylon, and lycra release thousands of microfibers with every wash. Microfibers are microplastics that are 5mm or smaller in diameter. Instead of buying clothing, towels, or blankets with these materials, look into more organic and sustainable fabrics such as cotton, linen, wool, or hemp that don’t release harmful pollution into the environment. 

There’s no need to toss your entire wardrobe all at once, though. The best way to move toward better fabrics is by starting piece by piece when you need a new item. Part of fabric sustainability is also about being able to use your items to their fullest before buying new ones. Otherwise, everything ends up in the landfill anyway and defeats the purpose of sustainability. 

Install a Filtrol Laundry Filter

It is estimated that the U.S. is dumping more than 64,000 pounds of microfiber into natural water sources every day. Reducing microplastics is easy with a Filtrol Laundry filter. A one-time purchase and installation of our filters can help reduce up to 89% of microplastics released during each wash cycle. From your home laundry sink to your commercial washing machine, we have an option for you. Find out Which Filtrol is Right for You and start reducing microplastics today. 

The Best Creative Fall Decor Ideas That Help the Planet

Fall is here, and it’s one of the coziest seasons of the year! At Filtrol, our goal is to get back to real water. By reducing waste and toxic chemicals that make it into your trash, you also keep them out of our waterways. That’s why one of our goals is to educate people about plastic pollution and give you ideas on how to reduce it! If you love decorating for fall, we have put together some simple ways that you can get the warm and fuzzy fall vibes going and lessen your impact on the environment. 

Don’t Go Overboard – Less is More!

An initial rule of thumb is to keep it simple! Part of being eco-friendly is reducing the number of goods created and consumed so that they are less likely to end up in landfills. Try to find ways to make simple statement pieces so that you still get that cozy fall vibe without going overboard. 

Shop Secondhand

A really simple way to reduce your carbon footprint and protect the planet is to shop secondhand. Head to the thrift store and get creative by looking for mason jars, lanterns, decorations, books, or old flannels to create your best fall decor yet. 

Choose Non-Plastic Decorations

Choosing non-plastic decorations such as paper, fabrics, wood, etc., dramatically reduces the amount of waste and harmful chemicals that enter the environment. Plastic takes 100s of years to decompose, but more natural products break down faster, reducing the overall waste in the world. 

Utilize Nature

The beauty of the fall season lives in the great outdoors! Bring in dried leaves, plants, sticks, pinecones, acorns, corn, pumpkins, and squash. There are endless possibilities when it comes to decorating with natural items. Plus, you can compost most items when you’re done or burn things like sticks and pinecones in your bonfire for a cozy evening outdoors! 

Make Your Snacks Your Decorations

Who doesn’t love having lots of holiday treats around? Put out a jar of candy corn or fall-colored M&Ms to add a little color to any room. Instead of a Christmas gingerbread house – make a Halloween gingerbread haunted house! No need for cleanup – these goodies will be gone by the end of the season. 

We hope you enjoy the beauty of fall and all it has to offer! By utilizing even just a few of these decorating ideas, you are helping our water stay clean! You can also reduce plastic pollution all year round with Filtrol!

Do You Know the Top 4 Causes of the World’s Water Pollution?

Water is the world’s most essential resource. But year after year, the water pollution crisis continues to worsen. Our actions are causing detrimental damage to all of the world’s water. Staying educated on the top causes of water pollution and how you can reduce your impact could help save lives and the planet. Here are the four leading causes of the world’s water pollution.

1. Agricultural 

Unsuspectingly, farms are one of the main contributors to water pollution due to a number of different factors. The sewage runoff from livestock infiltrates the groundwater and makes its way into local waterways, causing water toxicity. Fertilizers and pesticides from crops also cause pollutants to make their way into water systems, especially after flooding.

How you can help: Reducing the amount of meat you consume can help reduce the demand for livestock long-term. This will help with livestock waste and crop pollutants as more than 40% of the world’s grain is used to feed farm animals.

2. Sewage and Wastewater

The United Nations states that more than 80% of the world’s wastewater is put back into the environment without treatment. In some developing nations, that number is closer to 95%. This water is emptied into areas with fresh water, contaminating it and making it unusable.

How you can help: Reducing the amount of water you use daily can help lower the amount of wastewater that gets returned to freshwater sources. Try taking less frequent or shorter showers, installing rain barrels for gardening or plant care, or taking care of leaks.

3. Oil Spills

Oil pollution is more common than you might think. While it is often caused by oil drilling in the ocean, most oil pollution comes from inland factories, farms, and cities. Oil pollution makes drinking water unsafe and is detrimental to marine life.

How you can help: Ensure that your land and water vehicles are properly maintained so that oil leaks and fuel spills are less likely. You can also reduce the amount of gas and oil you use by investing in more sustainable forms of energy, such as solar panels, hybrid or electric cars, and household appliances that use less energy.

4. Ocean Dumping

Ocean dumping is the intentional disposal of waste or debris into seas and oceans from boats, air crafts, or other human platforms. Most items that are dumped into the water can take up to two hundred years to completely decompose, releasing contaminants such as microplastics and adversely affecting marine life.

How you can help: The old mandate to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle still stands strong. Reduce the amount of plastic you use and the waste you create. Reuse furniture, clothing, glass jars, and anything you can creatively think of! Recycle plastic, cans, paper, and batteries. You can also check with the producers of some of your favorite household items (like ScrubDaddy) – they might have recycling programs you could benefit from. 

Small steps toward sustainability today can make a big difference for tomorrow. At Filtrol, we are doing our part to help keep the world’s water clean by providing accessible laundry filtration systems to allow you to reduce microplastic pollution at home.

Why Coral Reefs are Dying and What You Can Do to Help

Oceans hold some of our world’s most beautiful habitats – coral reefs. Not only are they gorgeous sites to see, but they are also responsible for marine biodiversity and the overall health of ocean life. However, with continued plastic and chemical pollution, these coral reefs are in danger. 

Are Coral Reefs Dying?

In short…yes. While efforts are being made to revive these ocean habitats, coral reefs are declining at an alarming rate. Scientists estimate that 70-90% of the world’s coral reefs will disappear in the next 20 years—and could be completely gone by 2100. Reefs are responsible for supporting about 25% of all marine life. They also provide protective barriers to coastal communities, meaning there’s even more at stake. The main contributors to dying coral reefs are rising global temperatures, changes in water pH due to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and waste/plastic pollution. 

What is Being Done to Save Coral Reefs?

Scientists, marine advocates, and legislators are working hard to protect coral reefs from extinction. Through research, scientists are learning what is affecting the reefs so that we can create an action plan to help. Many marine biologists are also experimenting with planting lab-grown coral into suffering reefs to bring new life to the habitat. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency has lobbied to pass the Clean Water Act which regulates the disposal of harmful materials and chemicals into our waterways. 

What Can You Do to Help Protect Coral Reefs?

Eat More Plant-Based Foods

Food like meat, cheese, and milk that come from farm animals comes with a massive carbon footprint. While you don’t have to cut out meat completely, choosing a more plant-based diet can reduce your overall carbon footprint and reduce carbon dioxide pollution. 

Conserve Water 

When you shower, flush the toilet, or do the dishes, that wastewater eventually makes its way to our oceans. The less water you use—the less runoff and wastewater will pollute our oceans.

Install a Filtrol

Reduce microplastic pollution by installing a Filtrol Laundry Filter on your washing machine. You’ll reduce up to 89% of microfibers in your wastewater and allow more clean water to flow to the oceans.

Six Back to School Ideas for Packing a Plastic Free Lunch for Your Kids

Six Back to School Ideas for Packing a Plastic Free Lunch for Your Kids

Back-to-school is here for many Americans and right around the corner for the rest. School lunches contribute to 80% of the plastic that is not recycled each year. If you are looking for ways to help reduce your plastic waste while making your kids fun and nutritious lunches for the new school year, here are a few ideas to help you get started. 

Buy a Quality Lunch Box

It’s time to stop buying brown paper bags. The first step to a plastic-free lunch is to look for and purchase a quality, long-lasting lunch box. It might cost more upfront, but in the long run it will last longer, and be less likely to end up in a landfill down the road. Eco-friendly lunch boxes such as Planet Box are becoming more common and affordable and still offer fun designs your children will love.

Skip Single-Use Plastic Food and Drinks

In a market that favors convenience, there are a lot of single-packaged food and drinks that can make it easy for you or your kids to pack lunches for school. While going plastic-free might require more time and effort, it will ultimately contribute to a cleaner future for your children. Try buying foods in bulk and separating them out into smaller containers at the beginning of the week. Invite your kids to participate as an opportunity for a family activity and teach your kids the importance of reducing global plastic waste. 

Swap Plastic Sandwich and Snack Bags with Reusable Ones

There are so many alternatives available for plastic resealable bags. From resealable silicone pouches and velcro food-safe fabric containers to beeswax wraps, there is a variety of options to fit your preferences. So grab your carrot sticks and potato chips and head to school knowing you’re helping keep plastic out of landfills! 

Reusable Utensils and Napkins

Napkins are a must for school lunch—and every now and again you might need to send some utensils to school with your kid. Cloth napkins are affordable and easy to throw in the wash with other laundry items. You could even head to the fabric store and let your child choose a pattern they like and cut up squares with them to use as napkins for the year! These activities can help your child gain ownership over their items so that they’ll be more likely to take care of them. If you’re not fond of the idea of sending your nice utensils from home, purchase some bamboo or camping utensils to pack in the lunchbox. 

Remind Your Kids to Bring Everything Back

The hardest part might be reminding your kids to bring all of their eco-friendly items back home after the school day. Encourage them to keep everything in their lunch box and not throw anything away. The less plastic you use in their lunch, the less there will be to throw away—and the less likely that they’ll throw the reusable items in the garbage! 

Teaching kids the importance of reducing plastic waste and helping them to take ownership over their choices will help them form habits now that will benefit them and our planet. The bonus…you’ll start reducing waste now, which could impact the future world environment that your children will live in as adults. There is hope for the future of plastic waste and it can start with your family. 

The Plastic Problem: Plastic Pollution and its Threat to Wildlife

The Plastic Problem: Plastic Pollution and its Threat to Wildlife

Plastic waste is a growing issue as 85% or more of plastic consumed in the United States ends up in landfills. Not only that, but microplastics are being released into our ground and water from our washing machines, cleaning products, and larger plastics that break down but don’t disappear. We’ve talked about microplastic’s effects on the human body, but how does plastic pollution affect wildlife?

Plastic’s Effects on Marine Animals

About 11 million tons of plastic waste end up in our oceans yearly, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. We are currently on a trajectory for plastic waste and pollution to continue to increase over the next 20 years. It is predicted that our oceans and waterways will soon contain more plastic waste than fish, which has an adverse effect not only on their homes but also inside their bodies. 

Turtles, seabirds, and fish consume plastic, mistaking them for food and creating a deadly outcome due to choking or intestinal blockage. Plastics and microplastics also attract harmful chemicals that can cause sickness, disease, infertility, or even death when ingested. These microplastics and chemicals also make their way up the food chain affecting the other animals that might have otherwise avoided eating plastic. Eventually, this makes its way back into our human diets. While the effects of microplastics on the human body have not yet been revealed, we can be sure that we will suffer similar consequences to our marine friends. 

Plastic’s Effects on Land Animals

Like marine life, land animals often ingest plastic waste, choke, and have intestinal blockages. Cases of animal deaths due to plastic consumption have increased over the last several years and are expected to continue. 

Land animals have also often become entangled, entrapped, or impaled by plastic waste, causing detrimental harm to their bodies and overall wellbeing. It can impair their ability to walk, fly, hunt, forage for food, or even consume food altogether. 

Microplastics don’t just affect marine animals. They are leaching into the soil from local water sources and landfills and affecting vegetation and creatures that cultivate the ground. 

What Can I Do? 

While all of this information might feel pretty discouraging, there are action steps that we can all take today that will make a difference for tomorrow. We have the power to work together to save the ecosystem from the effects of our plastic pollution. Here are some ways you can make a difference: 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

You’ve heard it repeatedly, but it remains the simplest way to create less plastic waste. Reduce your plastic usage by buying reusable containers, avoiding single-use plastic items, and shopping sustainably. Reuse plastic bags and containers as much as possible so that fewer plastic items end up in the trash. And finally, recycle everything you can!

Get Involved with Environmental Organizations

Numerous organizations are already doing fantastic work to reduce plastic waste and educate others about the dangers of plastic pollution. Check out these seven awesome organizations protecting the oceans

Install a Filtrol

One load of laundry can produce thousands of microfibers (microplastics measuring 5mm or less). A one-time investment of a Filtrol washing machine filter can prevent up to 89% of microplastics from leaving your home and invading water sources. 

How You Can Help Improve the Environment in Your Community

There are so many ways that you can be an advocate for the environment. At Filtrol, we believe that starting with small changes, right where you are, is a great first step if you’re looking to improve the environment in your community. Here are some ways that you can be a champion for your local ecosystem.

Clean Up Litter

One simple way to make a difference is by picking up garbage around the neighborhood! Grab some gloves and a trash bag and head to your local park, walk down the streets, or engage your community by either organizing or joining cleanup crews in your areas with nonprofits like National Cleanup Day. Clean streets and neighborhoods mean we are saving waste from ending up in our water systems and eventually in our bodies.

Plant Trees 

Planting new trees in your neighborhood can help improve the air quality, reduce stormwater runoff, which creates erosion, and provide habitats for many species. If you aren’t able to plant trees in your own yard, team up with a friend, partner with organizations like Ecologi, or check with your local government entities to see if you can partner with them to plant trees in your community. 

Save the Bees

Bees are essential to the global ecosystem. They pollinate our crops, gardens, and the vegetation consumed by wildlife. Due to pesticides and environmental factors, the bee population is drastically declining. You can help them by planting bee-friendly gardens, reducing or eliminating pesticide usage, participating in “No Mow May,” or even becoming a beekeeper yourself! 

Reduce Plastic Usage

Recycling as much plastic as possible is a great start, but there are many ways that you can reduce your plastic waste altogether. Start by replacing single-use household items with multi-use items with these plastic alternatives

Install a Filtrol

Installing a Filtrol filter on your washing machine can reduce up to 89% of microfiber (microplastics measuring 5mm or smaller)  pollution from leaving your home. This prevents plastic pollution from seeping into the nearby groundwater and waterways. It keeps them out of the septic and sewer systems so that they don’t eventually find their way back into the water you drink, cook with, and bathe in. 

There’s a lot of work to do to conserve and protect our earth. Starting in your community to ensure that you, your family, and your neighbors are educated and engaged on environmental issues is an excellent start to making a lasting impact. 

What is Being Done to Bring Hope to the Future of Recycling?

You might have heard disappointing news about recycling over the last couple of years. After restrictions on exporting a portion of the USA’s recycling in 2018, our nation found itself with more recycling than we could process, and some of it ended up in landfills. The pandemic also set back many recycling facilities’ ability to process recycling materials creating an untimely setback. 

This unfortunate blow to the well-being of our environment caused many to feel overwhelmed and hopeless. But there are scientists, conservationists, and environmentalists working to reduce the amount of plastic we’re using and on new ways to deal with the massive amount of plastic waste we’re creating every day. 

So what is the future of recycling? Here are some hopeful developments in the world of plastics.

Federal, State, and City Policy Changes

The government has the power to enact policy that directly affects our plastic consumption. Many states and cities already restrict take-out containers, plastic bags and straws, and more. The federal government has also funded sustainable legislation such as the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act and the RECYCLE Act. You can look at the platforms of the candidates running for office in your area to see who supports these types of legislation. 

Circular Economy

In our current economy, we extract materials from the environment, use them to create new products, and then the majority of those products are disposed of. Even the materials that can be reused or recycled eventually end up in the landfill after a while. In a circular economy, the goods that are created are designed to be recycled back into the economy, creating an endless loop of materials that would eliminate the need to extract new materials. One of the ways this could be accomplished is through chemical recycling instead of mechanical recycling (our current system).

Chemical Recycling

Our current system of mechanical recycling only melts down the material to create a more brittle, less sustainable version that can only be reused 2-3 more times before it becomes waste. However, chemical recycling allows plastics to be chemically changed back into their original state and therefore be recycled endlessly. This process has been developed, and scientists are now working on how to scale it in a cost-effective way for production. 

You Have the Power to Make Change

Never underestimate the power of the consumer. The more you buy sustainable goods made out of recycled or compostable material, the more you are signaling to corporations that you value environmentally responsible products. When they see the demand for these products, they will continue to work toward creating better products for our earth, giving us even more options to reduce plastic waste and the need for recycling. 

When you’re feeling like the environment’s future looks bleak, and you ask yourself, “What is the future of recycling?”, rest assured that the processes are already underway and that you have the power to support and enact change starting today!