As promised, here are the details of the take-back recycling program that Brita has developed. Read their full press release here.
1) Collection: Beginning in early January, Brita users will be able to drop off used filters at Whole Foods Markets or mail them to an address which will be provided closer to the start date. [From personal experience, I would recommend NOT sealing them up in ZipLoc bags. This just ends up creating a lot of soggy, wet, not-so-nice smelling filters.]
2) Recycline, dba Preserve, the company that makes recycled toothbrushes, razors, and other household products, will recycle 100% of each plastic filter casing collected into other household products.
3) The filter ingredients, activated carbon and ion-exchange resin will be regenerated for alternative use or converted into energy.
The Take Back The Filter campaign is very pleased with this solution. Of course, we would always prefer to to see the filters redesigned to be reused/refilled. But we understand that that might not be practical. And partnering with Preserve is a great alternative.
When Brita first contacted us back in April, they told us they were leaning on Waste Management to figure out how to recycle the filters. Waste Management is in the collection business. They collect plastic for recycling and sell it off, normally shipping it away to cities in Asia. We wanted the Brita filters to stay here at home where we need green jobs to bolster our economy.
According to Preserve's Earth Efforts page:
Recycline makes nearly all of our products in the United States, working with U.S. manufacturers. This practice benefits our local economy and also reduces the CO2 emissions that would be generated by transportation of products to the United States from other countries. Sometimes we need to extend just beyond the border to guarantee quality and environmentally responsible manufacturing, so the blades for our Preserve razors are produced in Mexico.Thank you to everyone who got involved in this campaign, sent us your used filters, signed the petition, sent letters to Clorox, forwarded emails, wrote blog posts, and helped in ways we may never know. Brita might have started recycling their filters eventually without our help, but letting them know how important this issue was to so many people certainly ensured that it remained on their radar and that they sought the most responsible method possible.
A huge thanks also to the Sierra Club! Sierra Club, as you may or may not know, already had a relationship with Clorox in helping them to develop their Green Works line of natural cleaning products. So it was natural for our campaign to partner with them to help Brita find the best way to recycle the filters.
This site will remain up. If you haven't signed up for updates, please do so. We will let you know further details about Brita recycling. And in the coming days, we will add info on how we can encourage other water filter companies (like Pur) to follow suit.
In January, we will deliver our over 500 collected filters to Brita publicly so that all of you who sent them in can see your filters handled responsibly! And for those who still have filters to send, please hold onto them until January. We will be shutting down our mailbox in a few days.
In the mean time, please send a thank you letter to Brita for the hard work they have done putting this program in place. Clorox is showing itself to be an environmental leader, which might seem unusual for such a large corporation. We'd like them to feel that going green is truly worth it, and to perhaps look at their other product lines and figure out ways to make them more sustainable as well. (I have a few ideas!)
Here's the info for writing to Clorox:
Mr. Don Knauss, Chairman & CEO
Mr. Drew McGowan
The Clorox Company
Oakland, CA 94612
Web Form: http://www.brita.com/contact_form_us.php