The Environmental Impact of Using a Water Filter Pitcher

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As our understanding of the catastrophic effects of climate change continues to grow, many of us are keener than ever to do everything we can to protect the planet by making small changes to our everyday habits. 

Here, we’ve looked at how using a water filter pitcher for drinking water impacts the environment.  

📌 Key Takeaways:  

  • Water filter pitchers are beneficial to the environment because they help reduce plastic waste and fossil fuel consumption. 
  • Using a water filter pitcher still contributes to landfill, but the water filter industry has a smaller environmental footprint than the bottled water industry. 
  • The most environmentally friendly water filter pitchers have recyclable filters and a durable, sturdy pitcher design that should last for years, and they might also be made from recycled materials. 

📥 How Water Filter Pitchers Impact The Environment

Let’s look at all the ways that using a water filter pitcher impacts the environment. 

They Reduce Plastic Waste

If you use a water filter pitcher to treat your tap water at home instead of drinking bottled water, you can massively cut down on your plastic bottle consumption and help to reduce plastic waste.

Water filter pitchers have filters made with plastic casing, but these filters last 2-4 months on average – that’s much longer than a single-use plastic bottle’s lifespan. 

Plus, most filters are recyclable, and many water pitcher manufacturers have recycling schemes, so you can send your filters back to the manufacturer (often for an incentive, such as a free filter once you’ve returned so many filters). 

Water bottle plastics harming the environment

They Reduce Fossil Fuel Consumption

By switching to filtered water at home and reducing our plastic water bottle use, we also reduce fossil fuel consumption. 

The process of making bottled water releases millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air every year. If we all used a water filter pitcher at home rather than bottled water, we could significantly reduce the environmental impact of producing bottled water products. 

They Still Contribute To Landfill

When we compare using a water filter pitcher to buying bottled water, it’s easy to see that using a pitcher to filter your water at home is the more environmentally-friendly choice. 

But that doesn’t mean that water filter pitchers are 100% great for the environment. 

The plastic filters in pitchers still end up being recycled, and recycling products uses energy, producing carbon dioxide that contributes to global warming. 

Plus, there’s no guarantee that all consumers will recycle their filters, meaning that many used filters are littered across landfill sites today. 

Not to mention that, like all consumer products, water filter pitchers are packaged in cardboard boxes and plastic inserts that end up being thrown out as soon as the product is unboxed. 

Recycling center

🤔 How Environmentally Friendly Are Water Filter Pitchers?

Water filter pitchers are more environmentally friendly than bottled water, but they’re less environmentally friendly than drinking straight from the faucet. 

Using a water filter pitcher eliminates the need to stock up on bottled water to drink at home, since you’ll have clean, great-tasting water from your tap. 

But if you currently drink straight from the faucet and you’re considering using a water filter pitcher, that will technically have a greater environmental impact because your plastic use will increase (albeit not by a lot, since most filters have a 2-3 month lifespan).

🏪 How To Buy An Environmentally Friendly Water Filter Pitcher

There are a few features that you should look for in an environmentally friendly water filter pitcher: 

Recyclable Filters

Ideally, your chosen water filter pitcher should have recyclable filters that you can recycle yourself with minimal effort. 

The manufacturer should note which of the filter components are recyclable. You can check with your local recycling center if you’re unsure. 

Durable Build

You want your investment in a water filter pitcher to be worth the while, so look for a pitcher made from durable, long-lasting materials, like Tritan plastic or glass

A well-built water filter pitcher should last at least 3-5 years, depending on how often (and how carefully) you use it. The longer the pitcher lasts, the lower its environmental impact, since you’ll get the longest use out of it without having to buy a new product and double your materials consumption. 

But when the pitcher does reach the point of being past its best, it should be recyclable, depending on the materials it’s made from. 

Water filter pitcher made from tritan plastic

Recycled Manufacturing Materials

In today’s world, recycling is so commonplace that if a water filter pitcher isn’t made from recycled plastics, you have to ask yourself why.

Again, if a brand’s filters or pitchers are made from recycled materials, it should be noted in the product description. 

Filter Recycling Schemes

Many popular water filter pitcher manufacturers have recycling schemes that make it even easier to make environmentally friendly choices about what to do with your old filters. 

You just need to save your filters and ship them to the manufacturer’s designated recycling point (the manufacturer may even pay for the shipping label). Some manufacturers offer rewards for returning so many used filters, such as a free filter. 

Water filter pitcher cartridge recycling program
Source: Epic Water Filters Recycling

📑 Final Word

Using a water filter pitcher at home should help you greatly reduce your bottled water consumption, which has a positive environmental impact. 

But pitchers do use plastic in their filters, which need replacing every 2-4 months, so they won’t entirely eliminate your consumption of this material altogether.  

If you want to make the most environmentally-friendly purchase possible, visit the water filter pitcher manufacturer’s website and see if they share any information on what they’re doing to practice sustainability in their processes. 

This might include decisions regarding the filter materials, packaging, certifications, and manufacturing processes. 

If a manufacturer doesn’t share their sustainability initiatives, contact them and ask to see evidence of these via email. The more customers who tell manufacturers that sustainability is important to them, the more likely the manufacturers are to listen – and act accordingly for the better of the world we live in.

  • Brian Campbell
    President & CEO, CWS, CWR

    Brian Campbell, a WQA Certified Water Specialist (CWS) and Certified Water Treatment Representative (CWR) with 5+ years of experience, helps homeowners navigate the world of water treatment. After honing his skills at Hach Company, he founded his business to empower homeowners with the knowledge and tools to achieve safe, healthy water. Brian's tested countless devices, from simple pitchers to complex systems, helping his readers find the perfect fit for their unique needs.

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