Refrigerators with water dispensers are incredibly useful devices to have and can feel like a bit of a luxury. Using a water filter encourages users to drink filtered tap water, helping free up landfill space by avoiding the use of plastic water bottles.

Of course, clean water dispensers do require filters, with your refrigerator being no exception. But how do you dispose of these used refrigerator water filters when you need to replace them? Can the entire filter be thrown right into the recycling bin?

We’re going to take a look at how to correctly dispose of used refrigerator water filters, so you can make sure you’re doing your part for the environment next time you need to replace yours.

Do Not Take the Filter Apart Yourself

Although water filters are used to filter out harmful chemicals and impurities from your drinking water, the filters themselves actually pose a danger to yourself and your family after they have been used for a long period of time.

This is why taking apart your water filter in order to recycle the pieces should be done by a professional, and not as the result of watching a tutorial.


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1. Recycling Options

When recycling your refrigerator water filter, remove any plastic or metal components before recycling. This will make the filter easier to recycle and reduce waste.

Some filter manufacturers offer free shipping labels to make recycling easier. Before recycling your filter, check with the manufacturer to see if they provide this service. 

Additionally, some retailers offer filter recycling programs, so be sure to ask when purchasing your next filter. Recycling your used filter can help protect the environment and conserve natural resources.

Recycle Through Your Local Recycling Facility 

Asking your local recycling facility is always a great option if you’re unsure how to correctly dispose of any item.

Your local recycling facility should be able to direct you on exactly what to do with your used refrigerator water filter, and if not, direct you to the correct resources that can. explains why you should not attempt to execute this task yourself:

“You may also find online instructional videos and tutorials showing you how to take the cartridge apart so that you can recycle its various components yourself.

This can be incredibly dangerous, as you risk exposing your family and your home to the dangerous contaminants that have built up in your filter over the past few months.”

Recycling the Filter Through the Brand

Certain water filter brands and manufacturers offer a service to recycle the filter through their own facility. This is often done by sending the filter back to them through the mail or via a drop-off location.

This is ideal both for the customer and for the brand. Not only does it promote the brand as being environmentally conscious, but it may be able to recycle certain pieces of the water filter to reuse them.

Dan Ketchum of SFGate tells us what the ideal first solution would be when disposing of used fridge water filters:

“Find your refrigerator manufacturer’s contact information in your user manual or at the manufacturer’s website.

Contact the company’s customer service department and ask them about any available recycling programs for refrigerator water filters. Have your refrigerator’s model number handy to expedite the process.

In some cases, the manufacturer will accept filters for recycling via mail or recommend a drop-off location for a recycling program. If the manufacturer does not have a recycling program, ask them what sort of plastic — #1, #2, #3, #4 or #5 — the filter shell is made out of.”

2. Trash Disposal

When disposing of your used refrigerator water filter in the trash, check with your local waste management authority for any specific regulations or instructions.

Some municipalities require that water filters be placed in a separate bag or container before disposal.

It’s important to note that throwing your filter in the trash may contribute to waste in landfills, so explore other options if possible.

3. Donation

Donating your used refrigerator water filter to a local food bank or community center can help those needing clean drinking water.

Before donating your filter, check with the organization to see if they accept water filters. It’s important to note that not all organizations will take used filters, so be sure to check first.

4. Composting

If you use a compost bin or have a composting service, adding your used refrigerator water filter to your compost can help reduce waste. Before adding the filter to your compost, remove any plastic or metal components.

It’s also important to note that some filters may contain materials that are not suitable for composting, so be sure to check with the manufacturer or your local waste management authority before composting.

5. DIY Water Filter

Repurposing your used refrigerator water filter to make a DIY water filter can be a fun and educational activity for children.

It’s important to note that this should only be done with filters that are in good condition and have yet to reach their maximum lifespan.

When creating a DIY water filter, be sure to follow instructions carefully and only use materials that are safe for drinking water.

While this may be a short-term solution, repurposing your used filter can be creative.

6. Return Programs

Return programs can be convenient for those who want to ensure their used refrigerator water filter is properly disposed of or recycled.

Some manufacturers may offer free shipping labels or incentives for participating in their return program.

By participating in a return program, you can help reduce waste and ensure that the materials in your filter are properly recycled or disposed of. 

It’s important to check with the manufacturer for specific instructions or requirements for participating in their program.

Consider contacting your filter manufacturer to see if they offer a return program for their filters.

7. Professional Removal

Hiring a professional waste removal service can be a great option for those who would prefer to dispose of their used refrigerator water filter.

These services are equipped to handle a wide variety of waste materials and can ensure that your filter is disposed of in a responsible and environmentally friendly way. 

While this may be a more expensive option, it can provide peace of mind and ensure that your used filter is disposed of properly.

Research a reputable and environmentally conscious company when choosing a waste removal service. Consider asking for referrals or reading online reviews before making your decision.

Benefits of Disposing of the Used Refrigerator Water Filter

Once upon a time, a family never thought twice about disposing of their used refrigerator water filter. They would toss it in the trash without a second thought, not realizing its environmental impact.

But one day, they decided to educate themselves on the benefits of disposing of their filter properly.

They soon realized there were many benefits to responsibly disposing of their used filter. For one, it would reduce the amount of waste going into landfills, which is always good.

Plus, it would help keep their drinking water clean and fresh by properly disposing of the filter materials.

But the benefits didn’t stop there. As they researched more, they found that some companies even offered return programs for used filters, and others would even recycle the materials from the filter.

This meant that their used filter could be repurposed into something new, reducing the need for new resources to be harvested.

The family was amazed at the impact they could have by simply disposing of their used filter properly.

They even got a bit competitive with each other, trying to see who could come up with the most creative way to dispose of their filter. One family member even suggested turning it into a piece of art!

Ultimately, the family realized that properly disposing of their used refrigerator water filter wasn’t just about being environmentally responsible.

It was also about having fun and getting creative. So next time you are faced with a used filter, don’t just toss it in the trash. Get creative and think about the many benefits of disposing of it responsibly. You might even have some fun in the process!

The Bottom Line

Disposing of used refrigerator water filters is important to maintaining clean drinking water and reducing waste. Several options are available, whether you recycle your filter, dispose of it in the trash, donate it, compost it, or repurpose it.

Following this article’s guidelines, you can responsibly dispose of your used filter and help protect the environment. 


What can I do with old water filter cartridges?

You can dispose of old water filter cartridges through recycling programs offered by some manufacturers or by taking them to a recycling center that accepts them.
Alternatively, you can contact a professional waste removal service to dispose of them properly.

What chemicals do refrigerator water filters remove?

Refrigerator water filters typically remove chemicals such as chlorine, lead, mercury, and benzene. These filters can help improve the taste and quality of your drinking water.

What is the average life of a refrigerator water filter?

The average life of a refrigerator water filter is typically six months to a year, depending on usage and the water quality.
Following the manufacturer’s recommended replacement schedule is important to ensure your water remains clean and safe to drink.

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