05/23/2008: Sierra Club sends letter to Clorox urging BRITA take-back program!

Last week, the Sierra Club, SF Bay Chapter sent a letter to Clorox asking the company to develop a take-back re-use/recycling program for BRITA cartridges. This letter will be posted on the National web site and other chapters encouraged to write their own letters. See the original PDF copy of the letter here. Or read the text below.

Are you a member of an organization that might support the Take Back The Filter campaign? Please e-mail beth@myplasticfreelife.com and let us know!

May 17, 2008

Dan Gagen, BRITA Brand Manager
The Clorox Company
1221 Broadway
Oakland, California 94612

May 13, 2008

Dear Mr. Gagen:

Sierra Club, San Francisco Bay Chapter was recently approached by the "Take Back the Filter" campaign in Oakland to join in asking you to implement a program for collecting, recycling and reusing Brita water filters, which are a component of a product line you own. The Sierra Club believes that increased recycling and the adoption of "Extended Producer Responsibility" (EPR) are key components of reducing waste from the production cycle. By recycling and reusing products like the Brita water filter, the Clorox Company can keep tons of usable material from being needlessly discarded and thrown in land fills. Therefore, we join the "Take Back the Filter" campaign in asking you to:

1) Redesign the Brita filter cartridges so that the plastic housing can be refilled rather than discarded each time the filter is changed. After reviewing your product, it appears to the Sierra Club that redesigning the filter to allow the plastic housing to be reused rather than discarded, is possible without extensive redesign.

2) Provide a take-back program so that used cartridges can be returned to the company for recycling. The system that we favor would involve setting up collection stations at the retail stores selling Brita products (such as exists in Europe). An alternative to this might be a system whereby you provide customers with a pre-paid postage envelope in which they can send their used filter back to you. Hewlett-Packard currently does this with their toner cartridges.

3) Create a system for the cartridges to be dismantled and recycled/reused domestically rather than land filled, incinerated, or shipped overseas. When the take-back program for the Brita filters is implemented, the Sierra Club urges Clorox to build or contract with a facility in a location with stringent environmental regulations. Shipping the filters to Asia for reprocessing in an ecologically damaging manner would defeat the entire purpose of the program.

By making the necessary effort to redesign the plastic housing of your water filters, by implementing a take-back program in collaboration with your retail partners, and by doing this in a manner that does not damage the local environment, we are confident the Clorox Company will set an example of producer responsibility and environmental stewardship that will be appreciated by your customers as well as the
Sierra Club.

Norman La Force
Chair, Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter

cc: Don Knauss, CEO
Jon Balousek, Vice President, Specialty Division
Drew McGowan, Brand Media Relations

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