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Buying dozens of single-use plastic water bottles every month doesn’t only increase your carbon footprint but also adds a lot to your monthly household expenditure. On the other hand, a water filter is a more economical solution that is also less taxing on the environment.
However, if you have a water filter at home, you need to replace it once the cartridge’s lifespan is over. What to do with your old water filters? Should you just throw them in the trash?
Time to learn how to properly dispose of used filter cartridges from different companies.
So, here is our guide on how and where to recycle water filters!
- 1 Water Filter Recycling: How to Dispose Of Old Water Filters?
- 2 How and Where to Recycle Used Water Filter Cartridges from Different Companies?
- 3 What to Do With Old Refrigerator Water Filters?
- 4 Alternative to Recycling: Reuse Water Filters
- 5 Recycling Water Filters Tips
- 6 Conclusion
Water Filter Recycling: How to Dispose Of Old Water Filters?
The simplest and most obvious solution that comes to mind is to simply throw your old water filters in the trash. However, it’s not the most eco-friendly option out there. Instead, you should try to recycle old water filters, although most manufacturers do not offer a recycling program yet.
Here’s what you should do when it’s time to replace an old water filter in your home:
- First off, call the customer support of your filter’s manufacturing company. Ask about a recycling program. Maybe they have one in place you didn’t know about.
- If they have a recycling program, follow the instructions to dispose of your old filters. The customer support team might direct you to a manual or a video. In most cases, you have to let the water filter cartridge dry for a few days, then wrap it up in a plastic sheet, and store it in a container. Depending on the manufacturer, you might even get a pre-stamped envelope to mail the filter to the company for free.
- If the manufacturer does not offer a recycling program, enquire about the plastic type they use. The common plastic types are #1 to #5. Alternatively, you can also check the filter’s shell yourself and look for the stamp identifying the plastic type. It will be a digit with three arrows around it.
- Get in touch with your local recycling plant and ask them if they accept that type of plastic.
- If they do, take your water filter to them as per their instructions and recycle it.
- If they don’t, you have no other choice but to throw the filter in the trash can.
When you’re discarding the water filter, you can choose to cut open the cartridge or dispose it in its original condition. Some people don’t consider the former hazardous, while others are concerned about the transfer of possible contaminants and dirt to their hands.
If you’re cutting the cartridge open, it’s best to wear gloves.
How and Where to Recycle Used Water Filter Cartridges from Different Companies?
Some companies, such as Brita, have a recycling program, making it easy for their customers to dispose of old water filters. Here’s how to recycle water filters from different, popular manufacturers.
If you have a Brita filter, recycling is not an issue since the company has partnered with TerraCycle to provide a recycling program to all customers. TerraCycle repurposes non-recyclable objects into innovative items, such as potting supplies, pouches and pencils.
Here’s how to recycle your old water filters from Brita:
- First off, sign up for the company’s rewards program. It’s free.
- Fill in the recycling form. You’ll get a free shipping label.
- Use it to recycle dispensers, faucet units, filters, and everything else the company makes.
- Let your filter dry for three days. If you have multiple products from Brita, collect up to five pounds of material before sending it for recycling.
- Put the filter in a trash bag or garage liner.
- Print the free shipping label. Mail the filter.
MAVEA previously had a recycling program that allowed customers to discard their old filters in an eco-friendly way.
However, they no longer have this program. Instead, the company recommends customers check their municipal regulations and find out if they can recycle their used water filters through regular household recycling.
PUR also had a recycling program that they have discontinued. Instead, you can go to Earth 911 and use the website’s search engine to look for nearby recycling centers.
You just have to type in your zip code, and the website will show you the recycling centers in your area.
Alternatively, you can go to Recycle Water Filters and send them your PUR water filter for recycling. However, keep in mind that the company charges a fee, and you are responsible for the shipping charges too.
Recycling your ZeroWater filter cartridges is pretty easy as you just have to fill out the recycling form and send it to the company. However, you must have at least two old filters before you can use this service.
Although processing may take up to a few weeks, you’ll get a coupon worth $10 to redeem later at the company’s website. The coupon is meant to cover the cost of shipping.
GE Home Appliances
GE Home Appliances is keen on helping customers recycle their products. On their website, they have a link to the EPA guidelines about safely disposing of refrigerated appliances.
Additionally, the company also follows the Responsible Appliance Disposal Program through which you can dispose of your water filters. If you live in the following states, you can send your filters for recycling to one of the company’s participating dealers.
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
What to Do With Old Refrigerator Water Filters?
If you have a water filter in your refrigerator, it will need to be replaced occasionally to ensure optimal quality of drinking water and ice. Previously, Whirlpool had a Refresh & Recycle program that allowed customers to recycle their refrigerator filters of all brands for a minimal cost.
However, the program is not available any longer. Instead, you can do the following:
- Get in touch with the manufacturer’s customer support team and ask for their recycling program.
- If they have one, you’re good to go.
- If they don’t, ask them about the kind of plastic they use in the shell.
- Contact your local recycling plant to ask if they recycle that plastic type.
- If yes, send it to them. If no, throw the refrigerator filter in the trash.
Alternative to Recycling: Reuse Water Filters
If you cannot find a convenient way to recycle your old water filters and you do not want them to sit in the landfill for the century to come, you can also reuse them. However, this is not a very popular option since no amount of cleaning can make the water filter as good as new.
To reuse a water filter, clean it with plain water, bleach or dish soap – depending on its type – and remove as much gunk as you can.
Recycling Water Filters Tips
If you plan on recycling your old water filters, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Whole Foods Market has a recycling program in which they take #5 plastic. However, they do not accept water filters.
- Some third-party websites claim they can recycle water filters. However, they are often scams since they take your money, charge you a shipping fee, and may make you pay a service fee too.
- Even worse, these scams add you to their email list and bombard you with sales emails.
- It’s important to check the authenticity of a recycling program before you send your filters for disposal. Check if they are affiliated with your local authorities or a manufacturer.
- Don’t cut open the filter cartridge yourself without wearing gloves and a mask. Otherwise, the contaminants in it may have a negative effect on your health.
- If you want to decrease your filter cartridge waste in the long run, opt for water filters with a long lifespan.
Using a home water filter entails the problem of what to do with the old filter cartridges.
Recycling is the best answer. But not every filter manufacturer runs a program so you need to reach out to learn more.
Brita, ZeroWater and GE customers are fortunate. These 3 companies do offer their own water filter recycling programs.
If yours doesn’t, you may be able to dispose of the plastic at your local recycling plant. If there’s not even a drop-off station, all you can do is throw your used water filters into the trash.
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Rory has joined the Water Masterz team as a contributing writer. He has covered all sorts of topics in the last several years.
Outside of his writing work, Rory enjoys photographing the Irish landscape and making music!