Brita, PUR, ZeroWater & Co. – How and Where to Recycle Old Water Filters

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If you are using a water filter to get access to cleaner drinking water in your home you have to replace the filter cartridge every once in a while – how often depends on the individual model.

Now despite the fact that home water filtration is much more environmentally-friendly than buying dozens of plastic bottles every week, the used cartridges still add to the landfill. What you can do to counter this is recycle. How? You are about to find out!

Key Takeaways

  • You can recycle old water filters by contacting the customer support of your filter manufacturer to find out if they offer a recycling program and follow the instructions if they do.
  • If they don’t, try to find out what type of plastic was used for the filter shell (check stamp) and ask your local recycler if you can drop it off at their place.

What to Do With Old Water Filters?

Proper Disposal – How and Where to Recycle Water Filters

We appreciate the fact that you are concerned about the environment and want to dispose of your old water filters properly. Unfortunately, most manufacturers don’t provide a recycling program at this point.

Still, this doesn’t mean that your only option is to throw them in the trash. What you can also do is contact your local recycling center. They may accept the cartridges or give you further information on what you can do with them:

  1. Contact the customer support of your filter manufacturer to find out if they offer a recycling program.
  2. If the answer is “yes”, follow their instructions. Usually the filter has to dry for a couple of days first. Then you can wrap it in plastic and ship it in an appropriate container. Some manufacturers will even send you a pre-stamped envelope so that you can mail your filters for free.
  3. If the answers is “no”, ask what type of plastic was used for the filter shell (#1, #2, #3, #4 or #5). You can also check the shell yourself. It will have a number surrounded by three arrows printed on it.
  4. Contact your local recycler to find out what plastic type(s) they accept.
  5. Recycle if possible. Otherwise throw in trash.

On a side note: Some people say that cutting open your used cartridges to dump out the filtering media before throwing the plastic in the recycle bin is fine. Others warn against it since the media likely holds high amounts of contaminants removed from your tap or well water. Cutting open a filter cartridge may expose you to these substances. Personally, we don’t consider this to be an issue – you can wear gloves if you want – but this is up to you to decide (as long as you don’t dump anything in your garden which will release all the contaminants back into the environment.

Companies that do offer a recycling program:

The Gimme 5 recycling program that allows you to drop off any #5 polypropylene plastic at your local Whole Foods Market does NOT accept water filters!

Recyclers Beware!

There are some websites out there claiming that they specialize in filter recycling. However, it turns out that this is often a scam as these companies charge a fee for their “service” on top of the costs for shipping. What’s more, once you have submitted your information, it’s likely that you will get bombarded with sales leads in future.

Bottom line: Working with a legitimate recycling program sponsored by your filter manufacturer is usually the way to go and ensures that all materials are being recycled properly.


Some people like to reuse their water filters. They will clean the cartridge – even use bleach – and refill the filter media if needed.

Paper Saying Reduce Reduce Recycle Repeat

Just so you know, even the most thorough cleaning procedure does not guarantee that your refurbished filter will perform like it was brand-new, let alone be 100% free from contaminant leftovers and germs.

If it’s finally time for you to order a new home water filter, here is a collection of our favorite systems.

Brita & PUR

Both Brita and PUR have teamed up with TerraCycle, a recycling and upcycling company that has committed to repurposing “non-recyclable” products into affordable innovative products, such as pouches, pencils and potting supplies (for the whole range of products click here).

If you are a Brita customer, you can sign up to the free Brita Rewards program. When logged in simply fill out the form to get a free shipping label. Now you can recycle pitchers, dispensers, bottles, faucet units and any packaging in 3 easy steps:

  1. Allow your Brita products to dry out for three days.
  2. Collect at least 5 lbs to recycle. Place everything in a garbage liner or trash bag and pack it in a box.
  3. Print out your shipping label and mail the box.

Are you a Canadian resident? Then you first have to create a TerraCycle account at and join the Brita Recycling program there. You can download a pre-paid shipping label from your TerraCycle account.

In case you are a PUR customer, you have to join the PUR recycling program (no longer available).

Then you can start collecting PUR pitchers, dispensers, faucet filtration systems, filters and packaging film. Once you have a full box, send it using the free shipping label available at the TerraCycle website. Again, you have to remember to properly dry everything before wrapping it in a plastic bag or garbage liner.

Did we mention that for each shipment you send in you have the opportunity to earn points that you can donate to an organization of your choice or a TerraCycle product bundle? That’s so cool!

Want to learn more about TerraCycle?

How to Recycle Water Filters from ZeroWater?

ZeroWater provides a recycling form that you can complete and return with your filters to:

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

The processing takes up to a couple of weeks. Then you receive a $10 coupon to be redeemed at for every two filters that you return. The coupon is meant to help off-set shipping expenses.


Bad news: MAVEA is no longer accepting filters for recycling.

GE Home Appliances

As far as we can tell, GE has stopped their refrigerator filter recycling program as well. Although several third-party sources talk about it online, we couldn’t find any information that confirm that the program is still active.

Recycling Refrigerator Water Filters

If your refrigerator uses a water filter it, too, has to be replaced on a regular basis to guarantee the highest water quality and prevent bacteria from growing inside the cartridge.

Back in 2014, Whirlpool launched their Refresh & Recycle refrigerator water filter recycling program. It offered people to recycle any brand fridge water filter for little money. The bad news is that the program has ended.

What can you do instead? Follow the same process to recycle any other type of water filter:

  1. Contact your filter manufacturer. Ask if they offer a recycling program.
  2. If yes, follow the instructions.
  3. If no, ask what type of plastic was used for the filter shell. You can also look at the shell itself.
  4. Contact your local recycler to find out what type they accept.
  5. Recycle if possible. Otherwise throw in trash.


The ecological footprint of bottled water – recycled or not – is many times larger than that of filtered water. So even if your filter manufacturer does not have a recycling program, you are doing the environment a huge favor. And if you haven’t purchased a filter system just yet or are planning to replace your old one, consider choosing a brand that makes recycling a priority.

If you have any questions about how to recycle water filters please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

About the Author Gene Fitzgerald

Gene Fitzgerald is one of the founders of BOS and currently head of content creation. She has 8+ years of experience as a water treatment specialist under her belt making her our senior scientist. Outside of BOS, Gene loves reading books on philosophy & social issues, making music, and hiking.
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We adhere to strict editorial guidelines. Rest assured, the opinions expressed have not been provided, reviewed, or otherwise endorsed by our partners – they are unbiased, independent, and the author’s alone. Our licensed experts fact-check all content for accuracy. It is accurate as of the date posted and to the best of our knowledge.

Leave a Comment:

Irene Carrey says June 11, 2019

GE is not active with recycling refrigerator filter as I phoned the Canadian and Untied States GE they both are not recyling the filters. I would like to know why.

    Gene says June 12, 2019

    Thank you for your contribution. Well, what did they say?

Donna says July 13, 2019

I tried joining the TerraCycle program for pur filters but their programs are full so they aren’t taking new people. Very frustrating that it’s so difficult to recycle

    Gene says July 15, 2019

    I can understand your frustration. There have to be better ways for people like you that are willing to recycle, especially considering our planet’s current state.

Donna Walker says August 1, 2019

I just tried to sign up at TerraCycle and after filling out the form got a message that the program is FULL. This seems ridiculous to me. Have done a web search and apparently there is nowhere else to recycle PUR filters. I will be switching to the charcoal water purifying sticks from Japan. Cheaper and last longer.

    Gene says August 1, 2019

    Hey Donna,
    I’m sorry to hear that. It shouldn’t be hard for people to recycle at all. You are right, this seems ridiculous.
    Thanks for sharing your experience!

Lyvonda Napier says September 11, 2019

I sent some filters back to Zero Water and it costed me $36 in postage

    Gene says September 12, 2019

    They shouldn’t make it that hard for customers to recycle. Did you receive a coupon?

Gretchen says May 12, 2020

FYI, PUR no longer has a program with TerraCycle

Pat says May 15, 2020

Some of this information is out of date. The Terracycle program for PUR filters ended in October 2019, according to Terracycle’s website.

However, I’d encourage anyone to check Terracycle for other categories of recyclables they can handle. There is sometimes a waiting list, but collect your stuff and eventually Terracycle will let you know when they can accept it.

Erich J von kelsch says May 16, 2020

Please make note, the PUR TerraCycle recycling program ended 10/31/2019. The PUR website recommends using the RecycleNation website to find a recycler. Unfortunately, that website is not extremely reliable, as it lists businesses that are closed and business that do not accept water filters, according to their websites.

Jersey Joe says May 29, 2020

Whole Foods, Inc an Amazon subsidiary, had a used Brita filter drop off box in their store lobby. I will call there to see if they are still accepting Brita filters. This method seems less intrusive than holding until I acquire 5 pounds of filters to mail in.

    Gene says June 1, 2020

    Great idea!

Mel says September 18, 2020

Hi, the link for the PUR recycling program gave me a 404. Did they remove the program? I don’t see it on TerraCycle’s website. Thanks!

Mel says September 18, 2020

Nvm, just read through the comments and realized it’s not taking new customers. Might be worth editing the article though.

    Gene says September 28, 2020

    You’re right. We have to update the article. Thanks for letting us know!

Carol Saini says November 5, 2020

I am interested in finding a recycling depot that recycles used ZeroWater filters. Do you know of any in the Hamilton downtown area?
Thank you.

Christina says August 24, 2021

This would be a viable business effort.

Donna C says September 6, 2021

PUR no longer participates in the Terracycle program.

Jared Dettmer says September 8, 2021

Getting a free shipping label from any water filter company is difficult to the point you just want to toss your filters.

Please help.

Diana Fraser says June 24, 2022

I have already began my environmental championing movement,”How FAR is AWAY?” Facebook page & have guest appearances at local venues for presentation with demonstrations on what to do with product package INSTEAD of discard. One of the slogans jingles phrase ” If it doesn’t decay, DON’T throw it away!”

Jason says February 9, 2023

The link to the Zero Water form HAS THE WRONG ADDRESS – do NOT send filters there, call Zero Water for the correct address and they’ll assist – written February 2023

    Gene says February 19, 2023

    Thanks Jason for pointing this out. The address and form have been updated.

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