Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday's 3 Rs -- what to do with water filters

A few weeks ago, my daughter, Jess, and I went to our local Recycle Rama where we dropped off a variety of recyclables. One thing Jess hauled back home, however, was her bag of Pur water filters. Why? Because they were only accepting Brita filters.

Apparently, Brita responded to public pressure (and a successful petition campaign) and started a Take Back program. Pur, however, has consistently ignored its environmental responsibility. I now strongly regret buying Jess her Pur water pitcher for Christmas!

Brita has teamed up with Preserve, a U.S. company that manufactures BPA-free kitchenware and tableware out of recycled plastic. The plastic casing on the Brita filters is recycled and the filter material is regenerated or converted into energy. Why Pur is not part of this program is beyond me!

My hope is that Pur will step up to the plate sometime soon, so I recommend hanging on to your filters for future recycling.

So here's the deal for all you Brita pitcher users out there (in the U.S. and Canada) -- head over to the Preserve website and look for a drop-off location close to you. Whole Foods is one of the companies participating in this program. Unfortunately, this is only for the filters used in pitchers and not for the faucet mount filters.

Now for the rest of us who filter our water through other systems, other than Brita. takes all brands of household water filters, including:
  • carbon water filters
  • drinking water filters
  • refrigerator filters
  • reverse osmosis filters
  • sediment water filters
All you need to do is pack up as many filters as you can in a USPS Flat Rate Mailer (for those of us in the States) or your own box (up to 12" x 12" x 5 1/2") and send them off to their location.

There is a cost involved, however. Right now, the regular price of $9.99/box has been reduced to $6.99/box. Why a fee? Quite simply, to offset the costs of recycling.

Whether you're mailing your filters or taking them to a drop-off location, it is important to dry them out first! Shake out all the excess water and then let them sit for 2 or 3 days (preferably in the sun). If you are dropping them off at Whole Foods or another location, wrap the dry filters in a plastic grocery bag (which will be recycled as well) and place them in the recycling box marked specifically for Brita filters.

From now on, I'll be saving my refrigerator filters and shipping them off to It's a small price to pay to keep the filters out of the landfill.

Keeping it green with the 3 Rs,


Recycling plastics can be tricky -- cut through the confusion with Week One of Friday's 3 Rs.

Did you know your screw on plastic bottle caps and jar lids are made out of #5 plastic? Many curbside recycling programs don't accept #5 plastics. Check out the solution in Week Two of Friday's 3 Rs.

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