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 recycling bin. The frame of a filter is typically made of recyclable material, but the filter itself can be composed of several types of material, such as fiberglass, wire mesh, paper and plastic. These non-recyclable materials 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 of woven fibers, usually polyester or fiberglass, which are not recyclable.
It's important to remember that these filters can expose you to dust, dirt, and even potentially harmful chemicals. As such, most cities don't accept them as recycling, but instead have to throw them away. So can air filters be recycled? If you're talking strictly about city or county recycling policies, the answer is almost always no. Heating and air conditioning filters are on the “do not recycle” list in most cases, along with televisions and other electronic devices. However, just as there are special entities that can recycle electronic devices in a safe and environmentally friendly way, there are also ways to recycle used air filters. One of the best ways to recycle an air filter is to contact an HVAC company or supplier.
These companies work with these filters every day and have the means to recycle the used filter in the best possible way. Keep in mind that this means placing the entire air filter in the trash, even the cardboard frame, even though it could theoretically be recycled. In reality, no oven filter or air conditioner filter should go to waste with the rest of the week's recycling. When it comes to replacing your air filter, remember that your health must also be taken into account. Most cities will recommend that these disposable filters simply be placed in the trash.
Fibreglass is used in oven filters because of its adhesive properties and porous fibers, which allow all types of dust and dirt to be easily trapped inside the filter. Some people like to try to use the dirty oven filter several times by taking it out every three months and blowing all the dust out of it, but this is not safe for you or your machine. Instead of leaving the system unprotected, replace the filter with a new one right away to ensure that the air intake vent remains fully protected at all times. The higher the MERV rating, the more filtered the air that passes through and how often it will need to be cleaned. With so many filters swapped and discarded, you might be wondering if your air filter is recyclable or not. Once again, wrapping a dirty filter and then throwing it away is the best way to dispose of an old filter.
We think it goes without saying, but always turn off the air conditioner or heater completely when replacing the air filter to ensure that no unfiltered air passes through the system. Most HVAC or heating companies will replace their furnace filter as part of general annual maintenance. Plus, whether you're looking for advice on air conditioning maintenance or you're looking for answers to questions like “Can air filters be recycled?” a trusted HVAC technician can help. For all these reasons, when an HVAC filter arrives at the recycling center, you can safely assume that they won't know what to do with it any better than you do.