The answer to this question is yes, air filters can be recycled, but the process is not as straightforward as simply throwing the filter into the recycle bin. The frame of a filter is usually made of recyclable material, but the filter itself can be composed of several types of materials, such as fiberglass, wire mesh, paper and plastic. Non-recyclable materials in an air filter can contaminate a batch of recyclable materials and complicate the process. The short answer to this question is that it depends on the type of air filter you have. A typical disposable HVAC filter is made with woven fibers, most commonly polyester or fiberglass, which are not recyclable.
When it comes to dealing with air filters, you also need to consider your health; these filters can expose you to dust, dirt and even potentially harmful chemicals. As such, most cities don't accept them for recycling, but instead require them to be thrown away. There are several factors that influence whether an air filter can be recycled; the biggest factor is what type of filter you have. Most HVAC filters with woven fibers are designed to be disposable and should not be reused. If you are using fiberglass filters in your space, you should not use them again. Not only can these filters not be reused, but many cities don't accept them with recycled materials.
That's because they don't want to risk exposure to dirt or harmful chemicals that could get trapped inside. In some cases, you can recycle the cardboard pieces that frame the air cleaner to help reduce waste. If you are interested in learning more about the protocol surrounding recycled air filters in your place of residence, contact your local government. Most cities will be able to inform you about their particular policy when it comes to recycling air filters. If you have an HVAC system in your home that requires air filters, they don't seem recyclable except for maybe the cardboard frame that can be torn off.
Are there any greener alternatives? Saving money would be an added bonus. I wouldn't mind the hassle of washing and reusing a filter if it's safe and effective in the HVAC system. So can air filters be recycled? If you talk strictly about the recycling policies of the city or county, the answer is almost always no. Oven filters and air conditioning filters are on the “do not recycle” list in most cases, along with televisions and other appliances. However, just as there are special entities that can recycle electronic devices in a safe and environmentally friendly way, there are also paths you can take to recycle used air filters. Can a domestic air filter really be recycled? The answer is that it depends on the type of filter your air conditioner has.
Most households use the disposable type made with woven fibers such as fiberglass or polyester which cannot be recycled. Disposable filters do their job by trapping dust, dirt and other small particles that can be harmful to a person's health but once they get dirty it's not possible to simply wash and reuse them once more. It's not healthy or safe to use them again. Your HVAC technician may also be able to recommend a reusable filter for your HVAC system or at least a more efficient filter than the one you are using. Have a plastic bag ready when you are going to change the air filter and immediately place the old filter in this bag when you remove it from your oven or intake vent. If you prefer not to go to the trouble of recycling your air filter (we understand), learn how to properly dispose of your filter safely and efficiently.
If you want to reduce your environmental footprint, talk to an air filter company that provides you with the right air filter removal services. Contact your filter supplier and ask if the local recycling branch is able to dispose of the filters. Professionals recommend changing your HVAC air filter at least every 3 months so if you follow their advice, you'll have to deal with dirty and dusty filters several times a year. An HVAC professional should be able to offer advice based on the type and brand of filter you are using as well as the construction of your filter and the materials it contains. Most cities will advise that these disposable filters simply be dumped in the trash at least when it comes to disposable air filters. Air filters may look dirty but what you see may be just part of the dirt and debris that one of these filters may contain. Another type of eco-friendly filter is washable air filters also known as reusable HVAC air filters.
In reality no oven filter or air conditioner filter should go in the trash with the rest of the week's recycling. Once you have the new air filter in place immediately remove the old filter to the trash can and throw it there. You can also reduce the number of filters you use by purchasing a reusable air filter for your home.