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What to Do With Old Water Filters? Reuse or Recycle?

Writen by Ronald Brown

Fact checked by Natalie Bridges

what to do with old water filters

How do you dispose of water filters at home? If you chuck them away often, I hope you reconsider this disposal method. Throwing your water filters away with the rest of all garbage may not always be the best option. Consequently, you are only enabling the influx of plastic waste into the environment.

Used water filters contribute heavily to landfill mass. So what to do with old water filters? You have plenty of options: reuse, recycle or replace. In this article, I will discuss signs that your water filter needs replacement and the best ways to deal with it.

Table of Contents

How Do You Know If Your Water Filter Has Expired?


Before you get all worked up about proper water filter disposal, you must first determine the telltale signs that your water filter is on the brink of deterioration. Below are the notable ones:

  • A sudden drop in water pressure
  • Changes in color, taste, and odor
  • Slimy and slippery water texture
  • Weak/slow filtration
  • High levels of TDS (total dissolved solids)

The easiest way to tell if your water filter has outlived its usefulness is to check the manufacturer manual to find the shelf life recommended by the company/retailer.

Do not forget to mark your calendar when you install a new filter, so it would be easier for you to track the expiry date.

What to Do When Water Filters Expire?


While it has been a tradition for some people to direct old filters towards the trash bin, it is not a good practice unless they are eco-friendly. A few brands out there design and create compostable water filter products that are harmless to the environment.

However, a metal or plastic outer housing encases the vast majority of water filters today, so if you are environmentally conscious, there are two methods you can try for your old filters :

1. Reuse

One way of being kind to the environment is to reuse water filter cartridges. Some of you might be wondering how you can reuse your grimy old filters. Well, it is easier than you think.

You can start by cleaning the water filter cartridges. Some people use a cleaning solution to rinse away the filth surrounding them. You can use bleach, oxalic acid, or vinegar mixture to get the crud off the filter.

Generally, hydro homies tend to reuse filter cartridges to reduce expenses. Still, be wary because reusing a water filter is not for everyone. Ask yourself, “Is it worth it to clean my old filter than buy a new one?” because some water filters are not made to be reused.

There is no guarantee that the harmful contaminants have been eliminated successfully from the filter, especially if you have poor water quality. Deciding whether to reuse the filter or not depends on how soiled it is.

Other than purifying water, you can still reuse the filter for different purposes. Most DIYers can create a masterpiece out of junk. You can turn your old filter into handcrafted home decor— a flower vase, pen holder, and figurine, to name a few.

2. Recycle

Recycling water filters is not the most important concern of most people. Most of them are too busy with their hectic schedules every day to even care about recycling filters. Many buyers also do not want to have the burden or responsibility of recycling waste.

Fortunately, there are water filter manufacturers or retailers that offer a more efficient and straightforward approach to recycle your exhausted water filters:

PUR Water Filters

PUR is one of the many prominent water filter manufacturers that offer recycling programs to collect and recycle your old filters. Now, where to recycle PUR water filters? It depends on the current recycling programs PUR has.

PUR has partnered with RecycleNation, a location-based service that makes the recycling experience of customers smoother by providing straightforward access to recycling opportunities.

Visit the RecycleNation website to recycle PUR filters. Then, input your ZIP code, and you will get a map of nearby recycling locations.

When searching for PUR recycling programs, be wary of websites with outdated content. You might still see the previous “TerraCycle” program of PUR on the top results of your search engine, although it already ended 3 years ago.

If the RecycleNation program discontinues, I advise contacting PUR directly to ask for any available recycling programs you can join. It will avoid confusion in the future.

So far, the PUR water filter recycling program accepts pitchers, faucet mounts, filters, and packaging. You can access the app/website on your mobile phone, laptop, and other devices.

Do not forget to keep the old filters dry. Wrap them in a recyclable bag and pack them in a shipping carton or box. Furthermore, if you are looking for how to remove a PUR water filter from the pitcher, check out our guide here.

Brita Water Filters

Just like PUR, Brita Water filters also teamed up with the TerraCycle program, and it is still active up to this date. Go to the TerraCycle website on your browser and open a TerraCycle account.

Click the “Sign Up” button and register. You only have to enter your basic details, and you are all set! If you are a regular Brita customer, you can sign up for the free Brita rewards. Remember that the slots for this program are limited. So if the lists are full, your registration will be transferred to a waitlist.

In such cases, you can try contacting another reliable recycling plant near you. Brita filters utilize number 5 plastics (polypropylene). However, some models are made with different plastics. It is crucial to inspect the surface of your water filter and look for the number in the middle of the triangle symbol.

How to Dispose of Refrigerator Water Filter?

Can I recycle my old refrigerator water filter? Yes. Suppose you own a PUR fridge filter. You can join the mail-in recycling program of RecycleNation effortlessly.

But the problem is that most fridge filter brands today do not have a dedicated recycling program. For such events, you can visit Click the “Order Now” menu to choose the size of the shipping box of your used fridge filters.

Please note that this company charges a fee to defray the costs associated with recycling used filters.


With thousands of websites sharing tips and guides about what to do with old water filters, it is difficult to find the one that matches our needs. The first thing to do is determine if our water filters offer a recycling program. It will save us a lot of time and effort.

Dumping your old water filter should be the last option. But if you do not have any choice but to throw it away, make sure that you store it in a plastic bag and seal it off to prevent it from polluting the environment.

For any questions and suggestions, do not forget to mention them in the comment box!

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