How to dispose of an air purifier filter

Air purifier filters perform a crucial job of removing contaminants from the air. However, over time, the build-up of these pollutants makes them no longer useful. So, how do you dispose of a used air purifier filter?

Throwing a used filter into the trash can might seem like a good idea. However, the trapped debris can easily find its way into the house, polluting the air. Therefore, you need to dispose of the filters in a way that prevents the pollutants from escaping, for example, in a sealed trash bag.

But that isn’t the only way. Here, we will look at how to dispose of used air purifier filters properly. You’ll get to know recycling options and what to do with new filters if you no longer need them.

Can used air filters be recycled?

Before disposing of air filters, it is a good idea to consider recycling them. Recycling can help you save a few dollars, bringing down the costs of filter replacements.

It is also environmentally friendly – it reduces landfill waste and the number of raw materials used. However, there is one crucial thing you need to consider before going the recycling way – are the air filters recyclable?

There are several types of air filters, which are made using different materials – aluminum, woven fabric, fiberglass, polyester, paper, among others. Some of these materials might be recyclable (say paper and aluminum), while others are not (fiberglass).

Unfortunately, some filters come with a combination of these materials. Deciding whether they are recyclable or not is a daunting task.

Another thing to consider while looking to recycle filters is where and how they are used. For example, can you recycle a furnace filter?

The filter may be made from recyclable materials such as fabric, cardboard, and even aluminum. However, they trap a lot of impurities that can even be a health hazard.

Therefore, while recycling air filters might be a good idea financially and environmentally, it might be complicated. The best course of action is to contact an air filter recycling company for advice on how to proceed.

How to dispose of air purifier filter

If you don’t wish to consider recycling, you need to dispose of your filters safely. Below are tips on how you can do this:

1. Carefully remove the filter from the air purifier or furnace vent

The first step to disposing of an air purifier filter is to remove it. It would be best to do this carefully to ensure the debris or micro-organic pollutants don’t come loose.

2. Immediately place the filter inside a plastic bag and seal it

The longer the filter remains exposed, the longer the chance of it polluting the air. Therefore, you should place it inside a plastic trash bag immediately and seal it off completely.

You can seal using drawstrings and taping the opening using sticky tape, say duct tape. If possible, you can even place the bag inside another one for an extra layer of security.

3. Dispose of the bag in an outside trash bin

A plastic bag might be secure in containing the contaminants trapped by the air purifier filters. However, they can puncture easily from other debris in the trash can.

On top of that, the bag might already have holes in it, causing the pollutants to leak out. Therefore, after sealing your used filter inside a bag, the next step should be to dispose of it in an outdoor trash bin.

4. Install a new filter

After removing the old filter, you will need to replace it with a new one immediately. This will ensure that your air purifier/furnace/HVAC is functioning correctly and that no contaminants pollute the air.

How do you dispose of HEPA filters?

There is not much difference in disposing of HEPA filters and other types of air filters. If the filter ones you are using are reusable, you can wash/clean them and return them to your air purifier/furnace/HVAC.

However, if the HEPA filter you are using is not reusable, you will need to consider recycling or disposing of it. Recycling is only a good idea if the materials are recyclable and do not contain any toxic chemicals. If not, you will need to dispose of it using the steps above.

What to do with unused air filters

Sometimes, you might find yourself with unused filters. For example, you might have purchased them in bulk and no longer need them? What can you do with them?

There are several options you might consider, such as:

  • Re-using them in another way, for example, composting paper and cardboard filters
  • Giving them to a relative, friend, or colleague who can use them.
  • Donating them – charitable organizations accept air filters as donations since they are crucial in purifying breathing air.

Dispose of your air filter the right way

Air filters are critical components when it comes to indoor air quality. However, once their work is done, they contain a lot of debris and pollutants that are bad for your health and the indoor air.

Therefore, you need to either recycle them (if it is safe to do so) or adequately dispose of them. The above is a look at how you can go about both of these options.