Recycling Brita water filters in Canada

First published on February 27, 2011

Except in special, temporary circumstances, tap water in Canada is safe to drink. In fact, Metro Vancouver boasts some of the cleanest tap water in the world. It is certainly the environmentally friendly alternative to bottled water (which itself is often just bottled tap water). However, even if you’re on board with tap water, you might still filter it with Brita products and their alternatives, for reasons of taste preference, fear of contamination from water pipes, fear induced by misleading advertising, or even social pressure. I won’t argue against those reasons in this post. What, though, do you do with the filters when they need to be replaced?

You can recycle Brita filters, although this fact is not well publicized. The Brita Canada website does not seem to have any mention of this, but Brita has partnered with recycled plastics manufacturer Preserve to accept used Brita filters. (Unfortunately they do not accept other brands’ filters.)

If you live near a London Drugs store, you can drop off the filters there. Otherwise, as a consumer, the process is roughly as follows: dry out 3 used Brita filters, wrap them in plastic, and ship them to Brita, preferably in the original box. The Preserve website has a link to a prepaid shipping label to print and affix to the box. Because the Preserve recycling facility is in New York, Brita Canada ships them large batches of used filters a couple of times a year. Preserve will then recycle both the plastic and the active filter elements.

I’m a bit skeptical as to how efficient that process is, but Brita claims that shipping the filters out for recycling has a net benefit impact (in an unknown unit of measurement) versus just throwing them away. I think that there is at least an intangible benefit to people getting into the habit of trying to divert as much waste as possible from landfills (and also to limit the amount of waste generated in general).

For full information, check out the Preserve website.


9 Responses to “Recycling Brita water filters in Canada”

  1. Julia says:

    wow this is great to know – how did you come across this. Too bad they don’t have deposit sites in Canada like they do in US. 6 months is quite a long time to hang onto used filters before you can mail them. And the shipping does seem unfortunate.

    Reply from Peter: We could mail our filters together! As for how I came across this, I’d heard about it a while back, but couldn’t find any further information at the time. Recently, a friend was telling me about how he also had the same experience about not being able to find the information online. And thus, we had to get to the bottom of it!

  2. Netmaster says:

    Wow!!! Thank you so much for this….!

    Another useful crap!! Hurray!

    Will tell my friends and family that uses Brita :-)

  3. Carol says:

    You can print out a free shipping label here!

  4. Maiaka says:

    Thanks for the article. Turns out these guys will only recycle the actual Brita brand water filters. I’ve been buying the PC brand and cannot find anywhere I can recycle them. If you have any insights beside throwing them in the trash it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  5. Stephan Sokolow says:

    If only drinking straight municipal tap water didn’t require me to treat my water like bad-tasting medicine due to the chlorine content.

    (I don’t know how my family tolerates it but, since they cut Brita filters from the house budget, my policy has, out of necessity, been: Don’t breathe through my nose until a few swallows of saliva have chased it down, don’t drink more than one cup in a sitting or it’ll make me feel faintly ill, and don’t use the cheap President’s Choice Brita filters because they start releasing a more concentrated form of the taste after less than a month.)

    I know it doesn’t bother me (aside from gathered dust) if I fall asleep and leave a cup sitting overnight, so I guess I need to find a good-sized copper container with a non-airtight lid that I can use to let a day’s worth of water sit overnight and lose its chlorine without gathering dust.

  6. Sue says:

    Brita now has the info on their site:

  7. Valerie Taylor says:


  8. valerie Taylor says:

    I would like to recycle my PC water filters. I just love using these filters. They taste great. I will always us them. You are very good. Thanks again.

  9. 8675309 says:

    Lol same situation with sodastream(which only addresses the co2 cylinders) they ship them back to the US worst case middle east for refurbishment(at least till PepsiCo move it all back to US)

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