Brita filters transform chemically-treated and dirty sedimented tap water into a safe drinkable liquid free of chlorine, zinc, floating particles, and harmful microorganisms.
Unfortunately, you must replace the filter after every 2 to 3 months to maintain its effectiveness.
With more households relying on Brita filters and disposing of used ones at least four times a year, there is no doubt most of them end up in landfills.
This begs for the question, are Brita filters recyclable? Brita filters are widely recycled through a program run by TerraCycle.
But before moving on further, let us understand how water filters are bad for the environment- the main reason why Brita is investing heavily in a recycling campaign.
Why are Brita filters bad for the environment?
First, Brita has an impressive lineup of products that the company claims to filter out contaminants from over 20 billion liters of water globally every year.
So, mathematically, millions of filters used worldwide eventually end up in landfills.
Secondly, breaking down the component of a Brita filtration cartridge, you will find synthetic strings and a rigid foam made of polypropylene.
Though polypropylene is safer for the environment compared to PVC, it nonetheless contributes to global warming.
During the production of a kilogram of polypropylene, almost 78kWh of energy is consumed. This considerable energy demand increases the production of greenhouse gasses which are harmful to the environment.
Besides, when phthalates in polypropylene break down in the water, they accumulate in the bodies of marine organisms, poisoning them over time.
How to recycle Brita filters
Part of Brita’s commitment to customers is keeping the environment as well as water safe from pollutants by recycling used filters.
To ensure most of the used filters end up on recycling belts, Brita uses the services of TerraCycle and UPS to safely collect and transport them to a recycling plant.
Here is how the process works
- Prepare the filter for recycling
Prepare Brita water filters by removing or disconnecting them from faucets, dispensers, or water bottles.
Put the filter on a rack standing upright for the water to drain down through the open bottom side. Some filters like those used in water bottles require support as they are unstable to stand upright on their own.
Leave the filter in that position for 2 to 5 days, depending on the environmental conditions, for the water-soaked woven components and activated carbon inside the filter to dry out.
If the filter has accumulated scum, be sure to wipe it out with a wet towel on the second or third day.
- Sign up for the Brita recycling program
Though it is not a must, Brita allows its customers to sign up on their online platform to get rewards once they send their used filters back for recycling.
Go online to Brita’s website and sign up by keying in your details and securing the account with a password.
Having a Brita account is beneficial because you will be awarded shopping points after submitting your package. You can redeem the points for Brita goods next time you do online shopping.
Optionally, you can sign up on TerraCycle to download a prepaid shipping label which will be affixed to the package. Don’t forget to get the shipping label because it has a serial code that will be used to award shopping points to your account.
- Drop the package at the nearest UPS
Once the filter is safely secured inside a box and a printed shipping label attached to it, drop it at the nearest UPS. UPS has partnered with TerraCycle and Brita to deliver the package to the recycling center without you paying for the shipping fee.
However, UPS will impose small charges on a package weighing more than 5 pounds.
Can Brita filters decompose?
Another proven method of recycling products is letting them decompose in nature for some time.
No. Being made of polypropylene, a type of plastic, it isn’t hard to fathom that Brita filters do not decompose or biodegrade easily, but they can anyway.
The plastic takes 2 to 3 decades to break down considerably. But there is a call for concern as propylene breaks down to release lead and poisonous compounds that can harm living things.
Propylene decomposition time may be reduced to a few years with sufficient artificial control of heat and light. Even though this method has not yet been implemented on a large scale, chances are it may be helpful in the near future.
Are there other methods of disposing of Brita filters?
We have uncovered that recycling is the easiest and most environmentally friendly way of getting rid of Brita filters. Luckily, there are two more ways of disposing of filters you should know.
- Donating the filters to plastic producers
Plastic producers will be glad to receive the filters and repurpose their primary materials into other products.
- Trash Brita filters away.
This should be your last option to get rid of Brita filters when you can’t send them to TerraCycle or a recycling company. Simply seal off the filter in a plastic bag and place it in a garbage can. The municipal trash collectors will pick and safely bury them in a dumpsite where they will have a less environmental impact.
How does Brita filters recycling program save the environment?
While Brita filters are not 100% safe for the environment, they play a crucial role in protecting it indirectly.
Water filters are the number one competitor of plastic bottled water. Globally, the water bottling industry releases over 2.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually. This increases the rate of global warming and climate change.
By competing with more environmentally harmful water bottles, Brita filters reduce pollution.
Brita filters are recyclable through a TerraCycle recycling program. To take your filter for recycling, begin by allowing the water inside to dry out and later delivering the package with a serial number to the nearest UPS.
Recycling filters is safe for the environment, living organisms, and even the pocket where you are rewarded points to shop for new products.