Water filters are a great substitute for bottled water if you are trying to save money and help save the environment. Bottled water costs one-thousand times more than tap water, and even though single use plastic bottles are recyclable, most of them are not recycled. Over 60 percent of water bottles end up in our landfills each year, contributing to the plastic pollution that is degrading our environment and water supply. Filtered water helps cut down on both the environmental and financial costs of bottled water, and does not contain the toxic chemical contaminants and byproducts often found in municipal tap water supplies.
Most water filter cartridges are encased inside of a plastic shell or housing. Some manufacturers have recycling programs in place, making it easy for consumers to recycle their used filter cartridges. Unfortunately, if your manufacturer does not have a recycling program, you may still have to dispose of used filters in the trash. Trying to recycle them yourself can release toxins into the environment, causing more harm than good. However, the amount of garbage generated from throwing away water filter housings is significantly less than what is generated by throwing away single use plastic bottles. If you’re looking to recycle water filter cartridges made by companies such as Brita or Mavea, you’re in luck. Both of these companies have recycling programs in place. Mavea even provides a paid shipping label to make recycling your filters both easy and free. If mailing or shipping your used cartridges, be sure to save several and ship all at once, to minimize your carbon footprint.
Many consumers ask about recycling refrigerator water filters. GE just announced its new fridge filter recycling program. Currently, this is the only known manufacturer that will recycle your used fridge filters, but you may contact your local recycling center to see if they accept filters made by other companies. Another option is to filter your water with reverse osmosis filters. The filter housing on RO systems is reusable for many years. When replacing the filters in your RO system, you replace the cartridge inside of the plastic, so the plastic itself is almost never thrown away. In addition, the cartridges contain significantly less plastic than Brita or Mavea pitcher filters, so when the cartridges are disposed of in the trash, there is less plastic ending up in our landfills.
Filtering your water cuts down on the cost of bottled water, and recycling water filters, whenever possible, is a great way to cut down on the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our landfills each year. Next time that Brita cartridge expires, remember to drop it off or mail it to a participating recycling location, instead of throwing it away.
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Selwa writes for Filters Fast, an online retailer of air and water filters and related products. For more information on how to reduce your carbon footprint by filtering your water, visit the Filters Fast company blog.