The legalization of cannabis has added to Canada’s insatiable appetite for energy; ironically, the industry is far from "green". Blade Filters is changing this reality one filter at a time by introducing a zero-waste carbon filter with a replaceable carbon cartridge. This innovation achieves good health as well as responsible production and consumption as carbon filters remove up to 98% of VOCs and uses North American, virgin, granular activated carbon, ensuring consistent quality. Through their recycling program, customers never have to throw their carbon filters away again and can instead be part of a community that is taking a 100% wasteful process down to zero waste, joining the future of sustainable cultivation methods.
York University- Schulich School of Business
As the Cannabis industry goes mainstream, the associated waste intensifies, but not for long. Blade Filters, a Toronto-based private corporation, is the world's first carbon air filter company to provide a zero-waste solution: replaceable carbon cartridges. This simple, yet innovative product offers an alternative to the common single-use, disposable, carbon filters.
Carbon filters are essentially what remove odours from grow rooms, one of the largest issues facing the cannabis industry today. Presently, when the carbon in a filter becomes exhausted, meaning that it no longer removes the odours, users are required to replace the entire unit; this is a very expensive and wasteful process, not to mention the health implications associated with the VOCs emitted from growing the plant.
Through Blade Filters' innovative replaceable carbon cartridge, rather than removing and replacing the entire carbon filter, it is now a clean, simple, and sustainable process. They achieve responsible consumption and production as followed: customers slide the old carbon cartridge out of its outer housing and slide the new one in, transforming the 30 minute process of changing each carbon filter down to 2 minutes, and ultimately, revolutionizing a 100% wasteful process down to zero-waste through their recycling program. How does this work? Blade Filters first collects the used carbon cartridges, providing the consumer a 5% rebate. The exhausted carbon is then donated to companies, who utilize this used carbon, to make water filters. The metal cartridge is then sanitized and refurbished or properly recycled, thus zero waste. What makes this even better is that by only replacing the carbon cartridge, instead of the entire filter, growers are saving 20-30% in costs, all while the filter does its required job.
Joe, a chemical engineering student, enjoyed growing tropical plants to cope with the stress of school. However, in Canada, due to the lack of light and heat in the winter, it was not possible to grow these plants all year long. As a result, Joe decided to buy a growth locker where he could grow his plants in the winter months. When he saw the prices of these growth lockers, especially as a student, he soon realized he couldn't afford one. With the mentality of an engineering student, he instead decided to build one. In the process, he recognized the problem with the carbon filters. He was shocked by the amount of money people spent and the amount of waste created as a result of having to replace the entire filter each year, solely due to the fact that the carbon needed to be changed. He soon asked his friends who were growing cannabis at the time about this issue; they all agreed that it was a problem they faced, but there was no alternative. At this point, Joe thought of the idea to create a replaceable carbon cartridge. He shared his idea with his brother Aedan, who then called his classmate Giancarlo. It wasn't long before they began working on the project together.
Blade Filter's innovation continues to impact not only the business it operates within, but the industry in which it resides in, the surrounding environment and the people relying on the product. In the interim, the company deliberately sacrifices their short-term revenues to bring in new clients to ultimately achieve long term success. They have initiated a razor and blades model which increases the switching costs for consumers; the long-term effects on revenue will outweigh the short-term costs as customers continue to choose Blade Filter’s product.
The innovation’s impact on society is experienced almost immediately as the product tackles odor control for the cannabis industry. The long-term effects on society is the cost-saving advantages of the product. Finally, the effects on the environment are simple in both the short and long term: no waste. We will see these effects create a larger impact with time, but it all starts with one. The overall impact of this innovation is two-fold: consumers save time, money and reduce their environmental footprint while Blade Filters secures sales and makes progress in improving individual’s well-being through responsible consumption and production.
In terms of the business, Blade Filter's has developed a razor and blades model that creates customer loyalty. Essentially, once the initial filter is purchased, consumers are locked in with Blade Filters and are required to purchase their replaceable cartridges. As the customer embraces the green image associated with being involved in a community focused on sustainable cultivation methods and reaps the cost and time saving benefits of their product, Blade Filter’s secures the sale of both the filter and the complimentary good, the replaceable cartridge.
At this point in time, Blade Filter’s innovation IS their business; considerable potential lies in their ability to expand to other products and even more importantly, the opportunity that exists in expanding to other industries. They have created a product that can help scale their company and assist them in growing from its present state to many different markets. An example of this is entering the mining industry, hospital environment and even condo buildings. One may ask how Blade Filter’s innovation can be used in these fields of work; let’s outline an example. In China, Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a common condition experienced in many workplaces. Older buildings release VOCs into the atmosphere which cause workers to experience respiratory problems. Carbon filters have the ability to remove all VOCs; this is where Blade Filter’s comes in. By removing VOCs, be it in this instance or in any other industry, Blade Filters supports healthier, more productive employees.
“Blade Filter’s has created a need that people in the industry did not know they had”, says Giancarlo Sessa when asked how the innovation benefits society. The saying “you don’t know what you don’t know” reigns especially true in this scenario; the traditional filters on the market were consumers’ only option for a long time. No one understood what their needs were until Blade Filters offered a solution to that need. Historically, when the carbon in a filter became exhausted and no longer removed the odours, users were required to replace the entire unit- a very costly and wasteful process. Blade Filters’ innovative design of a replaceable carbon cartridge was a solution to the previously challenging, time consuming, and expensive process; their product created and resolved this need:
“Blade Filters is a technical team who have solved a substantial waste and cost problem for odour intensive farms. They identified a pain point for their customers, engineered a solution, and have the potential to lead their market with unique proprietary technology.”
- Dan Sutton, Founder and CEO, Tantalus Labs.
In terms of Blade Filters benefit to the environment, they are addressing three UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Their recycling program exemplifies their circular thinking and benefits the environment in more ways than one, in an industry that has failed to do so up until this point. Zero waste, the reusage of carbon, and keeping all designs, assembly and offices in Canada, makes this company an attractive local option; their awareness and effort gives their clients a “green image. This innovation is scalable, radical, full-spectrum flourishing, and has an overall net-positive impact and quantum leadership.
Giancarlo Sessa, Co-Founder/CFO
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Toronto, Ontario, CA
Business Website: www.bladefilters.com
Year Founded: 2017
Number of Employees: 2 to 10
Blade Filters is a leader in the cannabis air filtration industry and has created the world’s first zero-waste carbon filter. Through their innovative design of a replaceable carbon cartridge, they make changing your filters quicker, cheaper, and easier. Providing full turn-key air filtration remedies, Blade Filters is focused on creating and integrating solutions that resolve grower pain points around air filtration.