Take Back the Filter

An Oaklander starts a campaign to urge Clorox to recycle used Brita water filters.

Have you heard about the “Take Back the Filter” campaign yet? Begun by a group of enthusiastic bloggers, including me, local Oakland resident Beth Terry, “Take Back the Filter (TakeBacktheFilter.org) is urging Clorox to take responsibility for the millions of plastic Brita water filter cartridges that are disposed of each year.

A few facts about the campaign in a nutshell:

1) The original Brita company in Germany has had a program to collect and recycle used filter cartridges ever since 1992. They process them in their own facility, separating the materials and recycling or reusing them.

2) The North American branch of the company was sold to Clorox in 2000. Clorox has not provided any way to recycle these used cartridges.

3) Clorox and Nalgene have teamed up for their FilterForGood campaign to encourage people to give up bottled water and opt instead for the combo of reusable bottle and Brita filter, to cut down the amount of plastic bottle waste. This is a great effort. But Clorox has not addressed the plastic waste from the water filters themselves, as the Brita company has done in Europe.

4) We would like Clorox to follow the principal of Extended Producer Responsibility and either redesign its filter cartridges to be refilled (the best option) or create a take-back recycling program, such as already exists in Europe.

5) Why Brita and not other water filter companies? We are starting with Brita because the technology for recycling already exists in Europe, Brita is the most popular water filter system in the US, and Clorox is making a bid for the green consumer at this time with its purchase of Burt’s Bees and its development of Green Works cleaning products.

What do we want people to do?

1) Sign our petition at GoPetition.com/petitions/recycle-used-brita-water-filter-cartridges.html

2) Send us your used Brita cartridges so we can deliver them en masse to Clorox (instructions and address are at TakeBacktheFilter.org/2008/04/send-us-your-used-filters.html

3) Write a letter to Clorox (for those who are truly committed!)

4) Spread the word!

There is a lot more information at TakeBacktheFilter.org.


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