Asking PUR About Recycling Filters; Switching To Brita Instead?


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Maybe you guys can help me with a little dilemma I have about my water filter. At my house, we obviously don’t buy bottled water as I think it is a waste of money and bad for the environment, but we do have a water filter on our kitchen faucet just to give our well water one final cleaning before we drink it. For as long as I can remember, we have had the same PUR faucet hookup that uses PUR water filters, and it has always worked fine. The bad part? PUR doesn’t take back or recycle their used filter cartridges. Brita, the other big company that makes water filters, through some incredible work by my friend Beth at Fake Plastic Fish, has announced that they are going to start taking back their filters with the help of Preserve, who make the recycled plastic toothbrushes that we use. Because Brita will be taking back their filters and PUR doesn’t, I wrote a letter to PUR asking them if they had any plans on doing so:

Hello. I am writing to see if you have any plans to start recycling your filters like Brita has just announced they would do because of the Take Back The Filter campaign. I have been using PUR filters for years and years, but have always wanted to recycle the filters once I was done – but had nowhere to do it. I will continue to use PUR filters if you will be or at least have plans for recycling your filters, but otherwise I am contemplating changing to Brita filters so I can recycle them. Thanks in advance for your reply, I will be waiting to hear from you.

I sent this letter to them over a month ago – and still have not heard back and don’t expect to. But back to the dilemma I have over this; do I…

Throw my PUR faucet mount and filters into a landfill and buy a whole new unit from Brita with filters that can be recycled?


Continue to use the existing PUR mount but with filters that cannot be recycled?

I am thinking that in the long term, tossing my PUR system and buying a Brita one will be much better for the environment. Those filters catch all the nasty stuff (if there is any) in the water and then are tossed into the landfill, where they leach back into the groundwater again in concentrated form. But in the short term, I will be throwing away a perfectly good faucet mount but will have to continue to throw away the filters.

What do you think? Many people do not even need a water filter at all in their house, but since we are on well water I like to give it one last cleaning to remove any sediment prior to drinking. So either way, I need a filter on the faucet!

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  1. Would you be willing to write a post asking people to join a Pur letter writing campaign? I’d be happy to send a letter. Maybe you could persuade other blogs to promote the campaign as well — I’m sure many of the green blogs would go for it.
    My own blog is VERY new, but I’d be happy to promote it there. Maybe if Pur was bombarded with letters, they’d act.

  2. I think you’re asking more of a consumer ethics question rather than a financial one.

    If using a filter company that recycles its filters is important to you (e.g. keeping you awake at night), make the switch even if it costs you more money.

    However, as the first commenter Beth noted, if enough people make a fuss about this, you know PUR will eventually comply. I’m sure they’re already talking about this in their business development dept if their competitor has a “green living” advantage and they don’t.

  3. Agreed with previous posters. I would suggest you keep the Pur mount on the shelve. I’m sure they’ll come around (eventually) and create their own recycling program at which point you have the option to switch back without having to buy a new faucet attachment.

  4. Cori – it needs it, believe me. The water itself is fine, but the sediment needs to be cleaned out.

    Matt – Yea, it’s not about the money at all; its the principle of it really.

    If I Freecycle it, it doesn’t really accomplish anything other than me buying yet another filter – and the same amount of PUR filters will still be thrown in the trash by the new owner.

    Decisions, decisions. I guess I will work on trying to get PUR to change their ways with a campaign. Beth, let’s talk. Stay tuned!

  5. If you’d like to switch to Brita, I’d recommend FreeCycling or donating your Pur. I’m sure there is an individual or family in your area who could really benefit from filtered water and can’t afford the startup cost of a faucet unit. In a way, this doesn’t make much difference in the net amount of waste being generated…but it does keep your current unit out of the landfill, while providing someone who needs it with clean, filtered water. For your part, you’ve switched to a recyclable system and also made a point to Pur.

  6. If you can’t FreeCycle your current water filter, and you have five idle minutes, then at least crack it apart with a hammer and recycle the plastic housing. That’s something at least.

  7. I wonder if you could burn the carbon…. thats all these filters usualy have in them. Maybe the carbon would have other uses??? I know that some soil practices use charcoal to improve soil structure and water retention. Probably not for the garden… these things are supposed to pull out some heavy metals. Of course that brings us back to burning the carbon… you would still be left with the heavy metals, and they might even become airborne…

    just a recycle your own idea, prolly should mention it to the brita and pur R&D team

  8. Interesting idea, but I wouldn’t want to release whatever the carbon might have captured into the soil at all, as then it’s just like throwing it into the trash. I don’t know what the companies do with it though!

  9. Good point about the filters. I went over to Preserve/Recycline’s website (the company that actually recycles Brita’s filters) and this is what they had to say about the filters themselves:
    “The filter ingredients””activated carbon that reduces chlorine (taste and odor) and ion exchange resin that reduces lead, mercury, copper, and cadmium and zinc that might be found in tap water*””will be regenerated for alternative use or converted into energy.
    *Substances reduced may not be in all users”™ water.” This is the link to the page where I got this information:

  10. Hi David,

    Have you considered switching to a reverse osmosis filter instead? I don’t know if it will actually decrease the amount of plastic trash or recycling you generate, but from what I have read they are much more effective. Costco sells a very nice Watts unit for $140. Here is a link to an article by the manufacturer with claims as to the difference between the PUR, Brita, and their product.

  11. Hey Jaimie

    Thanks for passing that along. The reason we have not gone to a bigger filter is that our water is actually fine to drink, other than the sediment from the well. So I did not want to spend a fortune on a filter that would be overkill, but will have to see how these get cleaned/recycled/thrown away in comparison to the PUR I have now. Thanks!

  12. I am in the same situation. Here is what I thought I would do. I will continue using PUR for a bit, but save the filters. I want to see if PUR will make some progress on taking back the filters. I think I will wait about 6 months (that’s only 2-3 filters and if you save them, you may be able to recycle them). Then I am going to use the pitcher part with the lid for other beverages. We often buy concentrated juice to save on the container and use the water from our pitcher to reconstitute them and put in the fridge. That way, we can re-purpose our pitcher. Maybe the other part that holds the filter is recyclable also. Thanks for your website.

  13. Hi David. Sorry for joining this party so late. We are gearing up to revamp the Take Back The Filter web site to include information for contacting other water filter companies. Are you still interested in doing a Pur recycling campaign? Want to hook up with us? Please email me at beth[at]fakeplasticfish[dot]come!

  14. Don’t be such an eco-fanatic!

    You’re not gonna save the planet by recycling your little filters.

    If you really need something to sooth your conscience, go plant a tree (or some hemp).

  15. I have a Pur pitcher and would be glad to join a campaign to push the company to recycle their filters! It’s insane throwing all these in the trash.

  16. I’ve started a little stack of Pur filters because I can’t make myself throw them away. Unfortunately, I’m on city water and need the filters. I would sign upfor a Filter Recycle campaign to Pur if one gets started.

  17. I have a Pur pitcher that was given to me. I purchase the Brita filters & pop them in the pitcher instead. They don’t fit “perfectly”, which leaves it a little crooked once installed but no unfiltered water leaks out & it works like a charm!

  18. I also use a Pur filter and would LOVE to be able to recycle them. If you start a campaign, I will sign and get as many people as I know to do so as well.

  19. I’m a little late to this party, but I’d like to point out that landfills are designed to NOT allow leachates into the ground water.

    I do agree with the second poster, though. Does your well water even need filtration?

  20. I guess I’m not the only one wondering what to do with my filters. I was just searching PUR’s website and had a hard time just finding a customer service e-mail address (probably won’t get a reply anyway). I guess I’ll hold onto the filters with hopes they will soon have a recycling program. {sigh}

  21. We just purchased a refrigerator that uses the PUR filters. I am definitely interested in a recycling campaign. I can not get myself to throw away the first filter that I have replaced. Let’s get this changed. what can I do to help?

  22. Hi, I would be willing to pressure Pur and other filter manufacturers such as ours (Maytag, PuricleanII) to start a recycling program. I called them today and they said they have nothing in place and don’t plan to. This is when consumers can make a difference!

    It all makes me so mad. No consideration for where their products end up just as long as they make money. I will probably switch filters. Let’s all start to write letters. I have posted some info on my blog about this as well. Visit

  23. Hi, I have the same problem with the used filters. If someone start a campaign to pressure PUR filtration system to start to recycle their filters, please count me in.

  24. The website to the customer service for Procter & Gamble is

    It can also be connected via

    The following website is about information on how consumers successfully pressure Brita to start their recycle program.

    This shows that campaign would work if enough people write to the company to express their concerns about recycling their products.

    Not sure how responsive they are with their websites though… Well, at least it is a start.

    1. They aren’t responsive at all, as have tried several times. My friend Beth worked on Take Back the Filter, it was a great campaign. I solved my problem by switching to Brita.

  25. You know if they aren’t going to helpful or responsive, just ship them your filters back anyway with a little note. If enough people do that they’ll get the message. That’s what I’m going to end up doing. I’ll address it to the CEO.

    And to the people on here condoning irresponsibility because “one person” can’t change our social fate – your collectively lazy and shame-able mentality is exactly why the world issues are as crazy as they are. Quit shirking your responsibility to the biological (the world) thing you walk on everyday or just quit walking all over it all together. Grow up.


  26. I don’t see why a company that makes their campaign about preventing bottle water waste doesn’t have a program to recycle their own plastic waste. That seems like common business sense. It’s too bad, because I’ve always thought PUR did a better job at filtering water, but now I’m going to reconsider.

  27. I too am a Pur user. You have to filter your water. I live in Detroit and our water reports scare the daylights out of me.
    Shame on our country for allowing the incredible influx of toxins of mind boggling enormity on a daily basis from corporations that have been allowed to poison us all to the point where the poor water companies are rendered inept forcing us all to refilter our water.

    It does indeed seem ironic and questionable that a company that is so concerned about our water being pure doesn’t care about the trillions of these plastic filters appearing in the landfills across the world for the next hundred generations to figure out what in the world were we doing with this odd little objects. And so many.

    I think it would be a good idea to go to the Pur site and file a formal complaint and refuse to buy their products until they find the proper way to recycle.
    I am going there now.

    I would have to look into Brita

  28. I have used Brita for a long time, and recently a friend gave us their old counter top gallon filter system that uses PUR filters. I was torn over having to buy two brands, but now I am just using Brita because PUR is by Proctor and Gamble and they unnecessarily conduct animal testing on their household products. Especially now that I know Brita recycles their filters, I will definately be going with them from now on.

  29. I am considering switching to a Brita filtration system as well. I have the large gallon size system and like Gretchen’s idea of using it without the filter for other beverages. I would be interested in participating in a recycle the campaign to PUR.

  30. I agree with all of the above. I just left a message on the Pur website and feel the only way to make an impact is gripe about it and barrage them with emails and letters. I too am saving my filters for the day when they get their act together. P & G owns them and won’t like the negative press if it persists. Put it on Facebook too. Unfortunately, my experience when comparing filtration quality is that Pur is superior to Brita which is why I will persist with bugging them.

  31. Hi, It’s 2014 and pur STILL does not have a recycling program in place REALLY??? I find it hard to believe, but there it is. I’m not willing to throw out the whole thing to start over with Brita. We used the last (first) filter for nearly a year, just got a couple of new ones. It’s still better than buying water in plastic jugs (my husband insists on “pure” water, and we were buying 3 a week so it’s still a win). It’s still too bad.

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