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Homeowners who are maintaining their HVAC systems as recommended – checking air filters monthly and changing them at least every three months – will go through quite a few air filters. So what to do with all those dirty, clogged, used air filters? Can they be recycled? These are questions that our technicians hear often, and the short answer is that many can, but recycling them is a bit more complicated than tossing them into your curbside recycle bin along with the newspapers, bottles and cans.

About HVAC Filters And Recycling

Depending upon the type and brand of disposable filters you use in your system, the filtering medium may be composed of polyester fibers, fiberglass or paper, and many will have wire mesh within them to provide support to those materials. Most have frames made of cardboard. Given the mix of materials – some easily recycled and some not – they generally cannot be tossed into your household recycling bin.

However, if keeping those air filters out of the landfill is important to you, as it is to many of today’s more environmentally conscious homeowners, there are some specialized recycling services available for their disposal. Some organizations offer a mail-in service, where members send used filters to them and, in some cases, receive new ones, made from recycled materials, in return. Others simply accept used filters for recycling, but do not provide or sell air filters to the public. Local HVAC service companies and air filter suppliers may participate in recycling programs as well, collecting used filters from the public to be sent on to specialized recycling centers. You can find these services via an internet search, or your own service professional may be able to recommend a local program.

Other Solutions To The Air Filter Pile-Up

If wrapping up dusty old air filters and carting or mailing them off for recycling sounds like a lot of trouble to go through every two or three months, you might find reusable air filters a better option. These filters are more durable than those disposable ones, designed to be washed and reused over and over again. They are much more expensive than disposable ones, but since they can last for several years, they can be quite cost-effective over the long run. Just be sure to consult your HVAC professional to find out which reusable filters are most suitable for your system and follow care instructions carefully to avoid damaging your equipment.

So there you have it, the rundown on how you can keep your HVAC system well-maintained without sending piles of old air filters to the landfill every year. Recycling is definitely an option, although you may have to spend some time making inquiries to find a program in your area, or you can ask your HVAC professional whether reusable air filters are an option for your system. Both are great options for reducing waste without skimping on optimal HVAC system care and maintenance.