How to Recycle Water Filters (& Scams to Avoid)

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Filtering your drinking water at home can help you to save money and do your bit for the environment. Using recyclable water filters instead of buying single-use plastic bottles is the cheaper, more sustainable option.

If you’ve only recently started using water filters, you might be wondering what happens to them once they’ve reached the end of their lifespan.

Your filter might say it’s recyclable – but what does that actually mean? What do you need to do, as a responsible consumer?

This guide will provide the information you need about whether you can recycle your water filters, and if so, how.

♻️ Can I Recycle My Used Water Filter Cartridges?

Many water filter manufacturers now offer recycling programs for their used filter cartridges.

This means that you don’t have to worry about figuring out how to recycle the cartridges yourself, as you can just follow the instructions in the program.

If you don’t know whether your manufacturer offers a recycling program, that’s the place to start. A quick search on Google should bring up a relevant page on the company’s website if you can’t find the information in your user manual.

If there is a recycling program available, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. This will usually mean waiting a couple of days for the filter to completely dry out before packaging it in a box and shipping it to an address provided by the manufacturer.

Some manufacturers offer a simpler recycling program that lets you leave your used filters in a drop-off location, such as a container at your local supermarket. The manufacturer will make sure these containers are emptied frequently.

If your filter cartridge isn’t part of a recycling scheme, you may still be able to recycle it.

You will most likely need to take the filter apart and figure out which materials can be recycled. This is a better idea than dumping the whole filter in the trash, where it’ll end up adding to the excessive waste our country is already dealing with.

I would recommend contacting your local recycling center and enquiring about which parts they can take. You could also contact your manufacturer and ask what they recommend doing with your old filters if there’s no recycling scheme available.

recycling center

❗️ Water Filter Recycling Scams

We all want to take a more sustainable approach to day-to-day living, but it’s important to be aware that some companies will try to scam you for your good deeds.

Be careful if you’re searching online for businesses that specialize in recycling filters.

You might end up paying far more than you should to recycle your plastic cartridges. Even worse, you’ll probably get spammed with sales content after you use one of these companies.

It’s important to follow legitimate recycling programs offered by your filter’s manufacturer where you can.

If this option isn’t available, the second-best option is to contact a nearby local recycling center.

You’re less likely to get scammed, and you’ll have peace of mind that all your filter’s materials have been properly recycled.

♻️ Can I Recycle Refrigerator Water Filters?

There aren’t quite as many recycling schemes for refrigerator water filters as there are for pitcher filters. Still, if you do use fridge filters, it’s worth looking into this option.

♻️ Can I Recycle the Pitcher Itself?

Most pitchers are made from plastic, which means you should be able to recycle them. It’s unlikely that your filter brand will offer any recycling programs for the pitcher jugs themselves, but you can likely dispose of them at your local recycling center.

Check what number of plastic your pitcher is made from (numbers range from 1 to 7). If your pitcher is made from type 1 or 2 plastic, and sometimes 4, you should be able to recycle it easily. If it’s made from type 3, it can’t be recycled.

Remember, your recycling center will be happy to help if you can’t find information on the manufacturer’s website or your user manual.

plastic 3-7 water filter recycling

♻️ Can I Reuse Water Filters?

You may prefer not to recycle your water filters until you really need to. If your filter has started to slow down as a result of contaminant clogging, cleaning your filter may give it a few extra weeks or months of life.

Don’t be so quick to throw it away!

The type of water filter you own will affect the cleaning process. Usually, however, warm water and scrubbing will do the job.

Some filters, such as Brita’s pitcher filters, can be refilled with fresh activated carbon. The advantage here is that you don’t have to replace the actual filter cartridge every time your filter media reaches the end of its lifespan.

It’s worth being aware that some manufacturers advise against cleaning their filters, and it’s unlikely that you’ll restore your filter to brand-new quality, even with the most thorough cleaning procedure.

You should also be mindful of the fact that your water filter is clogged with a high concentration of chemicals, metals, dissolved solids, and whatever else your tap water contains. You might want to wear gloves when you carry out the cleaning job, and wash your hands thoroughly if you touch anything nasty.

🥳 Brands That Offer Programs & How to Recycle Water Filters

Clearly Filtered

Clearly Filtered offers a recycling program for their used filters – they will even give you $5 in store credit when you do so. Return your filters to this address:

Recycling with Clearly Filtered

23121 Antonio Pkwy
Suite 130
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688

Epic Water Filters

With Epic Water Filters, you can return your filters to the following address:

Epic Water Filters Recycling

6333 Dry Creek Pkwy Dock B
Niwot, CO 80503


To recycle your Brita filters, you will first need to let them manually dry for 3 days minimum. Brita recommends waiting until you have around 5 pounds of recyclable product at least before you send them off.

The convenience of recycling your Brita filters is that you can create an account on the Brita website and print off a label for free shipping. You won’t have access to Brita’s shipping label unless you create your own account.


ZeroWater recommends that you use USPS standard rate shipping when returning their filters for recycling. You will need to fill out this form and send it off with the water filter cartridges for recycling.

A bonus of recycling your ZeroWater filters is that you’ll get a nice discount for doing so. For every (2 or more) full-size water filters you return, ZeroWater will award you with a $20.00 coupon code.

The address to send the filters to is:

ZeroWater Filter Recycling
c/o Delta Warehouse
310 W. Paisano
El Paso, TX 79901

  • 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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