Less Plastic or Plastic-Less: Creating a Plastic Free Family

If you’ve got kids, you’re fully aware of the onslaught of plastic that’s bombarding our world just by surviving your home. From gauntlets of Lego® pieces in a dimly lit hallway to contractor bags full of packaging and zip ties after a kid’s birthday party; from plastic straws from the drive-thru to plastic masks at Halloween, plastic is everywhere in family life. Without even trying, you can have a home that’s more plastic than anything else. 

One of the simplest ways to curb your plastic consumption is to create a plan for your plastic use. How much do you use? How much will you use? What kinds of accommodations will you make to your life so that your family is producing less waste. 

Do a Week-Long Plastic Audit 

The best way to know how much plastic you’re using as a family is to start paying attention. Pull out a notebook and create a log of all of the single-use plastics you and your family have used and thrown away. Packaging for perishable foods. Sandwich bags for school lunches or snacks. Grocery bags. Dental floss (yes…dental floss is most often made of nylon, which is a type of plastic). Shampoo bottles. There’s even plastic in some coffee filters! 

To make your log more accurate, and to make your effort more effective, consider inviting the whole family to take part. 

Invest in (and Commit to) 3 or 4 Plastic Alternative Solutions 

On your journey to being completely plastic-less (a mountain that not many have climbed), you can certainly consume less plastic. Consider shampoos and soaps that are plastic free, like HiBar (check them out: https://hellohibar.com). Buy reusable snack bags and eco-friendly grocery bags. Change your diet or at least shopping patterns so that you’re consuming less of the items that package everything in plastic (FYI – this effort often involves less processed food and subsequently higher grocery bills). 

The point is that you don’t have to be plastic free overnight to make a difference. 

Make a Long-Term Investment

This is where we do a bit of self-praise. The Filtrol is a great investment for your family and for our ecosystem. This easy-to-install after-market washing machine filter is the most effective micro particle laundry filtration system available. A small financial investment protects our environment from the plastic pollution that comes from laundry. The added bonus for families with a septic system: The Filtrol keeps plastics from leaving your home through your laundry’s wastewater. It protects your investment and extends the life of your septic system. 

So join us as we try to help more families make a plastic-less — or at least a less plastic —  commitment. And let us know what you’re doing! We want to hear how much plastic you’ve been consuming and what plastic alternatives you’ve found!

Plastic Alternatives – Are they making a difference?

Plastic Alternatives – Are they making a difference?

A trip to the grocery store gives you a chance to be eco-friendly and save a little bit of money with reusable bags. Where companies in the past once handed out stress balls or Bic Click’s to potential customers or new employees, they’re now handing out reusable straws. Legislative efforts and education campaigns are making the problem of plastic more universally known and more unilaterally confronted. 

Single use plastics are a problem.

Grocery bags, plastic silverware, straws, and food containers are everywhere. Plastic pollution varies from water bottles in the ditch and plastic bags on beaches to microscopic particles floating in the ocean and lodged in the stomachs of sea life. 

There aren’t many people who carry a reusable straw with them and choose to use it instead of a plastic, single-use one. The number of plastic grocery bags used at a single supermarket on a single day is barely impacted at all by the eco-conscious family of 4 who bring their own hemp grocery sacks. And while these anecdotal reflections don’t necessarily mean we should abandon our efforts, we also need to consider broader efforts to address the plastic pollution crisis. 

The question is still worth asking…

Are alternatives to single-use plastics really moving the needle? 

Research is continually being done to truly capture the impact of plastic on our world. Cost and convenience seem to be more important than care and conservation, as an ever-growing garbage patch continues to take up more than 615,000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean. We’ve all seen images of plastic in the stomaches of wildlife or around the necks of ducks. We’ve seen research and heard TED Talks. Despite the growing problem and the vast amount of research, single-use plastics are still used in excess and single-use plastic alternatives are still relatively a non-factor in the fight.

So what is the way forward? 

At Filtrol, we believe wholeheartedly is that the way forward is to stay the course. We know that the work we’re doing is worth the effort. We know that the problem of plastic isn’t going away and the impacts of it aren’t either. And we know that we all have a part to play. 

While it may seem overwhelming or like an uphill climb, we can’t ignore the massive responsibility on our shoulders to protect our environment for future generations. We need to continue to address the big issues – the single use plastics, the bags in streets and straws at the restaurants. We need to to continue to address the small issues – the Microplastics being flushed into your wastewater with every load of laundry. We need to continue to partner with organizations and manufacturing companies who are paying attention to these issues and doing their part. We need to continue to shed light on the problem and give hope for the way forward. 

And at Filtrol, we’re committed to all of this…no matter how big (and how small) the fight is.

Legislative Efforts to Control Plastic

The Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act of 2021 (BFFPPA ) was recently introduced in Congress and is the most comprehensive legislative effort to date to mitigate the impacts of toxic synthetics on our ecosystem, our communities, and our personal health. Essentially, the bill is building on the momentum and progress made by various state-driven initiatives to employ plastic reduction strategies. Ultimately, the bill is targeting three primary areas of impact with plastic production, use, and disposal. 

Reducing Production 

The process of producing plastic is just as harmful to our ecosystem as the use of and disposal of it. At least 144 chemicals known to be harmful to human health are present in the production of plastic. The development and production process and the pollution that comes from consumer waste and improper disposal all add up to significant amounts of toxic, dangerous chemicals that are impacting our environment, our communities, and our health. 

Increasing Recycling

Only a fraction of the plastic that is produced and sold ends up properly recycled. This means that the overwhelming majority of it ends up carelessly tossed into landfills or littered into our environment. More comprehensive efforts to ensure that plastic ends up where it belongs when it is being discarded can have a massive, lasting impact for our entire planet — from the smallest microbiota to the very top of the food chain; from the most pristine and picturesque landscapes to the food served at a restaurant. 

Protecting Communities

Some geographical and socio-economic communities have greater levels of exposure and vulnerabilities to the toxic components of plastic production. For instance, much of the plastic waste that is either discarded or incinerated is done so in facilities located in lower income communities. This exposes residents of those communities to harmful gases and emissions that can cause significant health issues. 

To learn more about the BFFPPA — and to get involved in making moves against the onslaught of plastic on our environment, our communities, and our health, click here.

To learn more about the ingestion of plastic and its impacts on people and animals, click here.

To learn more about the toxic chemicals that have been identified in plastic, click here.

To learn more about the Filtrol and what we’re doing to stop plastic in its tracks, click here.

Protecting Minnesota

For years, we’ve been doing research that has the potential to make a global difference and we’ve distributed our plastic filtration products to almost every continent. As the problem becomes more and more apparent and as people become more and more aware of the need to make significant moves in a better direction, there are more contributors to the conversations and more innovators to the problem. Plastic, after all, is found deep in the ocean and on top of the highest mountains. It’s impacting countless species of fish and birds, being ingested by animals and people alike, and is eventually found on our plates and even in our beer. 

At Filtrol, we want to be part of the global solution to this problem.

But we also want to be part of the local solution. In Minnesota, our local ecosystem is one of the best things we have going for us. With over 10,000 lakes, miles of serene landscapes, and more water front property than coastal states, we are an outdoor enthusiast’s dream with four seasons of outdoor activity, from snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing in the winter to jet skis, wakeboarding, and camping in the summer. Avid hunters and fishermen have miles upon miles of forests, fields, trails, lakes, rivers, and creeks. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area offers solitude and the southern and western parts of our state produce crops that are shipped across the country. 

In all of this flurry of activity and opportunity in our state, we are serious about keeping Minnesota all that it was meant to be for our children and grandchildren…and then for their children and grandchildren. 

Part of this means that we’re doing the hard work and research to make sure the products we build in our labs are easy to install and maintain for people. We don’t want anybody to not use our plastic filtration system because it didn’t seem worth the headache. 

We also are committed to keeping the Filtrol affordable. Being socially and environmentally responsible shouldn’t cost so much. An affordable, easy-to-install and maintain filtration system can make it possible for individual people to make exponential impacts on massive, microscopic issues. 

We’re also serious about making the Filtrol effective.

The Filtrol is already doing good work, but we know we can do better. We’re always trying to improve our catch rates. We’re continuing our efforts to produce minimal waste even in our manufacturing, so that from start to finish, the Filtrol is environmentally-conscious. We’re always trying to expand our reach, so that more people in more places are using the Filtrol. And we’re always trying to protect the place we love to call home. Minnesota!

What to Do with All the Litter…

Not many people drive along the freeway or walk along the beach without feeling at least some sense of disgust or sadness over garbage on the ground. Plastic bags stuck in trees. Fast food packages stuck in the brush. Straws, wrappers, cigarettes. It seems every once in a while while driving down the road you stumble upon an area that has been especially pummeled with litter and trash. It can feel out of control and beyond help. Signs on the side of the road point to families and businesses who have adopted a section of highway to try to help. But yet the problem doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. 

What Can We Do?

It seems that no matter how many garbage bags (made of plastic) you fill with trash, there’s no difference made. Garbage is everywhere. So is the impact. It’s affecting our scenery and our drinking water. 

And so before we abandon our fight and decide that our best days are behind us, we believe that small, simple steps can make a big, lasting impact on the world around us. 

Install a Filtrol. Expand Your Definition of Impact. 

The work that Filtrol does to stop plastic pollution in its tracks isn’t stopping plastic bags from getting stuck in trees or cigarette butts from getting dumped into the street at traffic lights.

Ultimately, the installation of a Filtrol on your home or business laundry systems is making a big impact on the plastic waste you’re producing. But it’s bigger than that. It’s doing more than stopping millions of microfibers from entering ground water, drinking water, and food sources. It’s doing more than preserving our ecosystem and protecting our precious resources. 

it is helping people engage with the problem that’s all around us. It’s helping people to see that plastic pollution is something we all need to take responsibility for. It’s helping people put money into the cause and to put action to the frustration they feel when they see garbage. 

When you’re invested, you’re more likely to pick up the garbage you see on the side of the road or at the beach. When you’re invested, you’re more likely to go out of your way to make your surroundings more beautiful and less cluttered with trash. When you’re invested, you’re thinking about how to engage other people in the discussion and into becoming part of the solution. 

So get invested! Buy a Filtrol for your home and business and be part of a bigger conversation. 


Microscopic Plastic & Our Journey to Make Changes Happen

At Filtrol, we’ve been in business long enough to see a few different iterations of our product hit the market. We’re constantly tweaking our filtration methods; testing new variants of our product against previous versions. We want to do better. We want to make a bigger impact on plastic pollution and help others do the same. We’re constantly assessing our progress and trying to answer a few fundamental questions: 

How can we be more effective?

We won’t be satisfied with the work we’re doing until the Filtrol is stopping 100% of the plastic in laundry’s wastewater. 

Welcome to the question that keeps us up at night; the dilemma that has led to piles and piles of prototypes. Our quest to develop a more efficient and effective Filtrol that will require less maintenance and deliver higher performance is actually producing impressive results. We’ve started to finalize a variation of the Filtrol now that will me a more lower profile addition to your space and will be a more productive contributor to plastic pollution mitigation. 

How can we be more affordable? 

We won’t be satisfied until we know that the Filtrol is affordable for every home. 

The fight against plastic pollution should not be limited by somebody’s budget. The more that we can make our products available to all people, the more we can start to turn the tides on this massive microscopic problem. 

How can we be in more homes? 

There are lots of ways we can start working to get the Filtrol into more homes. Until a product like ours is required by building codes to be present, it comes down to education and partnerships. By working with contractors and builders, we can get them installed in new homes. By working with energy programs, we can get them installed in existing homes. By partnering with other likeminded companies, we can educate people on the options available to them, helping them realize that we’ll be more effective if we attack plastic from all angles. 

The work we’re doing is going to continue until the job is done. What this means for us is that we have our work cut out for us. But with strategically partnering with people around the country and globe, with more testing and better engineering, and with continued engineering and innovation, we can continue to see progress in our fight against plastic. 

Turning Ideas into Action

Plastic Pollution Needs More Than Words 

The more that time passes, the more we’re learning about the far-reaching impacts of plastic in our ecosystem. Whether we’re talking about grocery bags washing into the ocean, soda can rings entangling wildlife, or microscopic plastic particles in our drinking water and food, the more we study it the more we discover its massive impacts. 

At some point, ideas need to turn into action if we’re going to start impacting our environment in positive ways. While individual actions should be taken, such as stopping the use of single-use plastics and picking up plastics on roadsides and beaches, we all need to consider investing in some more comprehensive solutions to this problem. 

Is legislation the answer?

So far, 8 states in the US have outlawed the use of single-use plastic bags. In addition, various cities and towns across the country have made the move. The idea that we are going to push every state to this point of legislation is not out of the question. What once seemed like an impossibility is now on the horizon. 

But that’s just the start. 

What needs addressed is bigger than trips to the grocery store. We need to solve the problems of litter and laundry. We need to educate people on what’s happening, what the implications are, and what our options are.

At Filtrol, we don’t believe that the sky is falling. We don’t believe that this plastic ship has sailed. Quite the contrary, actually. We are hopeful and optimistic. We see a lot of good people and good companies working hard alongside us in this fight.  We see good solutions on the horizon for solving plastic problems of all sizes. 

Plastic Pollution is Solvable

But we have to all move beyond words. We have to start implementing small changes and voting in big changes. We have to change our habits and change our manufacturing standards. We have to be take seriously the charge in front of us to protect the environment and be part of turning ideas into action. 

Earth Day is on April 22nd!

Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd! Now is the time to start planning; to start thinking about what you will do this year!

Earth Day Opportunities for Impact

Earth Day is a great opportunity to organize a community-oriented event that will engage people and make a difference. You can do something alone or with a few friends or you can think bigger and organize a city-wide activity. 

Raise money to donate reusable grocery bags. Organize a community event to clean up litter at a park or beach. Plant trees. Spread mulch and plant flowers. 

There are endless opportunities for Earth Day activities! 

The goal of these events is to help people to take ownership of the world around them. You’re not asking them to join a political movement or to handcuff themselves to trees in the forest. You’re inviting them to dream bigger about what your home, neighborhood, community, or city can look like and feel like. 

Organize a Green Litter Movement

Not all litter is bad.

Let’s quickly clarify that statement. 

Consider buying wildflower seeds like these and hand them out to your neighbors and friends. Encourage them to toss them; to throw them along ditches, roadways, and boulevards. To hand them out to others to do the same. Before long, our neighborhoods will be glittered with color and beauty. 

Make this coming Earth Day one where a greener, healthier, more beautiful type of litter becomes part of our communities! 

Let April 22nd be Day 1

The goal of something like Earth Day is not for one day of care and concern followed by 364 days of neglect. Instead, think of ways to make April 22nd the first day of some new initiatives in your life, your home, or your community. 

Make this coming Earth Day the start of a whole new effort to make smarter, more eco-friendly decisions. Whether it’s the day you officially stop using plastic grocery bags or its the day you start your “Plant One Tree a Month” initiative, April 22nd can be the start of a whole new way of life! 

At Filtrol, we are excited to partner with people and organizations who are serious about protecting our environment and stopping the onslaught of plastic pollution all around us. 

What will you do this Earth Day to protect our environment? 

How Our Clothes are Getting into our Food

How Our Clothes are Getting into our Food

When someone says the word “plastic pollution,” a million different images come into our minds. 

Plastic bags floating in the ocean. Six-pack encasements wrapped around a turtle’s neck. Beaches riddled with garbage or birds’ stomachs filled with plastic straws and wrappers. Plastic water bottles filling landfills and giant garbage patches buoyant in the ocean. 

But what’s hard to picture is the microscopic particles of synthetic fibers that are washed from our laundry. They leave our homes unfiltered and flow through our water treatment processes and into our ecosystem. These microscopic pieces of plastic end up in our drinking water and food. They are found in the most remote landscapes and are even 7 miles underneath the surface of the ocean. 

So how do these plastics end up in our food? And even before that, how do plastics end up in our clothes? 

Fabrics like polyester, nylon, acrylic and polyamide are all made of synthetic (which means “chemically-based” or “man-made”) materials. Plastics are either manufactured specifically for these fabrics or are recycled and reused to manufacture them. During the wash, rinse, and spin cycles of household and industrial laundering, millions upon millions of the pieces of synthetic material are flushed out with the water, soap, and dirt. They don’t break down. They don’t biodegrade. They simply pollute every space they inhabit.

Many of the fabrics and materials manufactured of these synthetic compounds are attributed with the “fast fashion” industry, where clothing is made cheap and fast so that it can be distributed easily As our awareness of plastic pollution and its impact on our world becomes more and more at the center of our discussions, we discover new implications to things we once considered to be conveniences. 

Filtrol Provides an Answer

At Filtrol, we aren’t necessarily cutting away the plastic that’s wrapped around the turtle’s neck…though we would if we could. But what we are doing? We’re stopping the fibers that are shedding from your clothes from ever leaving your home or facility. We’re cleaning out the wastewater that’s being pumped into water treatment plants, so that billions of plastic particles don’t devastate our ecosystem. 

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.