Can you recycle the PUR filter?

In this brief discussion we will talk about the topic “Recycling PUR filters” and know different types of media used for effective filtration processes. We will also discuss the recycling process of PUR filters and how they help in producing clean water.

What is a PUR filter and why do people use them?

There is nothing like fresh water to quench the thirst where we don’t have to worry about the numerous microbes that stay put in stagnant or unfiltered water. Filtration is a process by which unwanted particles are removed and in case of water filters, these unwanted particles are dirts and microbes. Filtration also occurs naturally when underground water is formed which we extract from wells. 

Here the soil acts as a natural filtering material and the different layers of soil separates different types of particles, even bacterias. However in cities there is always a probability that your water may be contaminated. Moreover, communities provide waters that are chlorinated to make it pathogen free and the altered taste of chlorine still remains which is unwanted by many.  

Moreover, there are other contributors to the contamination of waters such as the lead, copper, or other heavy metals from the water pipes.Most tap waters are equipped with filters for this purpose. With the all time increasing concern of waterborne diseases, it becomes even more necessary to filter water or drink boiled water for better health. 

As water is an essential part of our life, it’s equally important to consume the cleanest one with the proper filtration techniques. Water filters or water purification systems are used to meet such purposes and do the filtration process in a much more efficient way.

Photo Courtesy: iStock. Water Filter

What are water filters made of?

Water filtration is not a choice but a necessity for us. The water filter products available in the market are designed to remove almost all the contaminants from the water and dispense clean drinking water. Though the mechanism is the same for filtering out water, the materials used for filtration purposes are different. This material is generally termed as the media of the filter through which water passes. 

There are different choices of media which include the following.

  • Activated Carbon
  • Activated Aluminum
  • Catalytic Carbon
  • Kinetic Degradation Fluxion
  • Mixed-Media
  • Reverse Osmosis Membrane
  • UltraViolet Light Filtration
  • Manganese Dioxide

Carbon has been known to absorb many impurities and activated charcoal is also used to absorb toxins or poisons from the stomach in emergency cases. Activated carbon is used in many lab equipment to purify liquid and gasses. This property of activated carbon has been utilized in making water filters to clean the municipal drinking water, food, and industrial pollution. 

Activated carbon and a form of it called catalytic carbon has been widely used in filters to get rid of chloramines, lead, copper, and certain pesticides. whereas , aluminum helps in removal of magnesium and calcium that cause the hardness of water and also can filter out radium and barium.

Photo Courtesy: iStock. Active carbon and water filtration beads

Can you recycle the PUR filter?

PUR filters are used to filter out the contaminants of water with the use of activated carbon which is made from coconut ashes. These filters are very effective in removing chloramines and metal impurities. These filters are used in faucets or pitchers and are known to remove many chemical impurities, even toxic substances. 

However PUR filters are inefficient to remove any cysts, bacteria, viruses or any other microbes. Hence these should be used with the tap waters where chlorination of water removes the microbial contamination. PUR filters have come up with most recyclable materials for their making. 

The plastic or metal parts can be separated from the filter and are recycled. The filter can also be recycled and most of the Whole Food chain accepts the filter for recycling. Since the validity of the filter is 3-4 months, new filters need to be purchased leading to an increased number of waste filters and manufacturers have made sure to use completely recyclable materials for its making.  

Cleaning the PUR filter will help you increase their durability rather than changing now and then. Though the steps are a little complicated you can save some money with the reusing of filters. Cleaning the filter with acid and later baking soda will reform it to a new one. 

Also activated carbon can be recharged by boiling for 15 minutes in water. The removal of parts and assembling them can be followed by the manual provided by the manufacturers. However, there is a limitation on the number of times it can be reused because removing and assembling parts can damage the filter and with more such reusing the quality of filtered water decreases. 

It will be interesting to know that there are many DIY videos that show the use of activated charcoal for gardening purposes. However, these are not only a safe practice but you are introducing the harmful wastes absorbed by activated carbon to the environment. 


In this brief report we have discussed the topic “Recycling PUR filters” and have highlighted the filtration process, its composition, types of media used in the filter. We have also discussed the different ways filters can be recycled and reused to prevent its dumping in landfill.

Frequently asked question (FAQs): Recycling PUR filters.

Are plastic water filters recyclable?

Plastic water filters are completely recyclable as these plastic parts can be separated from the filter and recycled separately. The filters are accepted by the Whole Foods centers at many places for recycling. The plastics used in these filters are made form #5 plastics (polypropylene) which can be recycled while some filters made with a combination of plastic and metals need to be recycled separately. 

These can also be sent to the manufacturers collection centers which accept their used products for recycling. This way they make sure that most of the products do not end up in landfill.

Can zero water filters be recycled?

Zero Water is a new initiative to introduce water filters that reduces contaminants to zero parts per million levels in the drinking bottles and helps reduce carbon footprint. The bottles fitted with filters can be reused many times thus replacing bottled water in many ways. 

The company has also introduced a recycling program for the gravity based pitcher filtration system where the filters are completely recyclable and the program also offers incentives such as discounts on replacement filters. 

How do you dispose of carbon filters?

Carbon filters can be used effectively for  2 to 6 months from their first use, however, if the carbon is protected with another layer of filter, these can go for 12 months. Most of the time these carbons can be regenerated by heating it at high temperature. The reusing of activated carbon can be done many times for the reuse of water filters. However, if these look like tedious work then these can be disposed of in landfills with proper safety and guidelines.

Can you put a Zero Water pitcher in the fridge?

Zero Water filter is one of a kind where it claims to reduce the contaminants to zero parts per million. These are made of five layers of filete and can be used if the pitcher is kept in the fridge. These filters are very effective in removing chlorine contamination, metals, organic, and inorganic elements.

Can you clean a water filter with vinegar?

Vinegars are well used to clean food materials and can also be used to clean the filters of an equipment. Just soak the filter in a mixture of vinegar and warm water and leave it for 60 minutes to get the work done. However, when it comes to water filters, they damage the active carbon that affects the filtration process. The carbon reacts with vinegar and thus becomes non-effective in filtering the water. Also, vinegar corrodes the filter and damages the cartridge.


Leave a Comment