There are two sets of stories I would like to share here—the story of how I arrived at this business and the history of Binchotan charcoal from its origin in ancient Japan.

My Natural Filters Story

This is the founder Igor Pershin here. I’d like to share with you the story of how I started Natural Filters and my vision for this social enterprise moving forward. It all started from my struggles with the auto-immune condition of alopecia and its corresponding effects on my digestive and endocrine systems.

Something that I have not necessarily shared with everyone due to its rather personal nature was how this condition affected my testosterone levels. Basically, from that fateful day in Rio de Janeiro when all my hair fell out in the middle of carnival and for the next 9 months or so my testosterone levels plummeted. They dropped to the point where I no longer felt attracted to women anymore and my motivation levels also took a massive hit. As you can imagine this had a massive impact on my psychological state, leading to a lot of confusion as to how I would live out the rest of my life as an asexual person when so much of my identity was caught in up being a heterosexual male. Anyway I’ll spare you my psychological struggles and get to the point of this story—clean drinking water.

My functional medicine practitioner (Steven from New Health Melbourne), after an extensive and thorough consultation and battery of tests recommended many lifestyle changes, with one of them being limiting my exposure to plastics. This was due to the synthetic estrogens that all plastics, including BPA-free plastics leach into our food, water and onto our skin constantly. So I embarked on a journey of cutting plastics out of my food and drink, replacing everything from my Tupperware containers with ones made from glass, even investing in a plastic-free kettle and blender, since these are appliances I use daily.

Once I had cut out plastics from my kitchen, the next step was my water, since beer and wine were already naturally plastic free. Seeing as I have always used water filters of some sort, I started looking around for a plastic-free water filter. I searched both online and off yet I was not able to find anything suitable. I was met with dumb-founded faces from all of the department stores I visited. I wanted a natural solution that was plastic free to begin with, just like zucchini pasta is naturally gluten free, yet I was all out of luck until I stumbled upon some articles describing how Binchotan charcoal can filter water easily and naturally. Hooray- this was it!

The Natural Filter Vision

I would like to live and do business in the spirit of the motto: “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. This is the reason that 10% of each and every order goes towards healing and preserving rainforests such as the Daintree through our partners at Rainforest Rangers – an Australian national treasure. Who would have thought you could heal the world by filtering your tap water?

Beyond this program, I eventually want Natural Filters to be produced domestically on land utilising regenerative agriculture principles to heal and restore the land the bamboo is to be grown on. Furthermore, the gases produced during the production process could be captured to produce electricity—eventually making the entire production process carbon neutral and even potentially carbon negative.

Once we have established local production in Australia to minimise the distance our products travel to reach our customers, we would like to eventually replicate this model globally, thus leading to cleaner drinking water, healthier soils and healthier people globally.

The Binchotan Charcoal Story

The Binchotan charcoal story traces its origins back to one of the oldest civilisations in the world, approximately 14,000 years ago, during the Jomon period in Japan. Back then charcoal was mostly used for cooking and stoking fires for heat. High quality Binchotan charcoal, also known as ‘white charcoal’, was perfected during the 17th century in the very same area known as Kishu then and Wakayama today. This miraculous innovation was renowned for its natural purifying qualities and became so valuable that producers exchanged pieces of Binchotan charcoal as payment.

The production process of Binchotan charcoal has changed little since its innovation centuries ago. Natural Filters honour these traditional production practices by following them very closely in the production of our bamboo charcoal water filters, which you can learn more about here.

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