How to Recycle Water Filters

by Danielle on August 3, 2010

water filterWater filters are great for the planet, indirectly. While they may be disposable, you’re doing a great thing by conserving water and resources which are used to make plastic water bottles. A world without recycling would spell possibly irreversible consequences like rising sea levels, a lack of livable space, and contaminated drinking water. That’s why making the switch from bottled water to tap water is of the utmost importance.

When you make the switch away from bottled water, you’re going to be using water filters. Most of these filters are disposable, and are not widely recycled. This page is going to answer the question of how to recycle water filters, so you can start reducing your impact on the environment today!

Why Drink Tap Water Instead of Bottled Water?

Bottled water has enormous consequences for the environment. Every plastic water bottle that is produced is made with petroleum in part. They also contain BPA and other potentially harmful chemicals. Bottled water also isn’t held to the standards that public tap water is held to. In most places of the United States, it makes sense to use tap water over bottled water.

What are the Effects on the Environment of Plastic Bottles?

Plastic bottles never biodegrade. They only break down into smaller and smaller plastic pieces, making them actually more toxic than when they were produced. This makes plastic one of the most important things to recycle. The other factor to consider when drinking bottled water is how far it traveled to get to you. If the bottle travels 2,000 miles to get to you, how eco friendly is that? This transport energy will also add to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

How Using Water Filters Will Help the Environment

Water filters clean tap water and prevent the use of bottled water. That means less plastic created, less greenhouse gases, and less plastic bottled thrown away into landfills (or polluted).

How to Recycle Water Filters

Water filters are easy to recycle. When you’re done using them, set them aside, because there are different recycling programs for different filters.


From the BRITA water filter website:

  1. Dry the filter by shaking off excess water and setting it in a dry place for at least three days.
  2. Wrap the filter in a plastic grocery bag, then pack it in a box. (Boxes and bags will be recycled.) If possible, send multiple filters at a time.
  3. Mail filters via ground shipping to: Preserve Gimme 5, 823 NYS Rte 13, Cortland, NY 13045

Visit the Brita Filter Recycling page for the entire details.


PUR does not at this time have a recycling program for their water filters. It doesn’t make sense that a huge water filter company that touts the benefits of using water filters over bottled water to not even acknowledge requests for a PUR filter recycling program. What should you do with them? You can try to set them aside until or if they ever do initiate a recycling program, or you can switch to BRITA instead. That leaves the dilemma of having an old water filter system, but int he long run, the benefits may outweigh the negatives.


TerraFlo water filters can also be recycled by sending them back to the company. Once they receive them, they will separate out the materials to be recycled, excluding the used carbon. It’s probably best to send them back in batches to use less packaging and energy. Visit their website for details on how to recycle TerraFlo water filters.

Ways to Recycle Other Water Filters

If your water filter company doesn’t have a recycling program, check to see if the filter is a #5 plastic filter. If it is, it could be recycled using the Preserve Gimme 5 program. This program accepts all #5 plastics to be recycled at participating Whole Foods. If there isn’t a Whole Foods near you that is participating, you can send the #5’s to Gimme 5 to be recycled.

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