The answer to the question of whether air filters can be recycled is yes, but the process is not as simple as throwing them in the recycling bin. The frame of a filter is made of recyclable material, but the filter itself can be composed of several types of materials, such as fiberglass, wire mesh, paper and plastic. Non-recyclable materials in an air filter 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 with woven fibers, most commonly polyester or fiberglass, which are not recyclable.
When it comes to dealing with air filters, you also need to consider your health; these filters can expose you to dust, dirt and potentially harmful chemicals. As such, most cities don't accept them for recycling, but instead require them to be thrown away. So can air filters be recycled? If you look at city or county recycling policies, the answer is almost always no. Oven and air conditioning filters are usually on the “do not recycle” list, along with televisions and other electronics. However, just as there are special entities that can recycle electronic devices in a safe and environmentally friendly way, there are also paths you can take to recycle used air filters. Air filters are generally not recyclable.
This may not sound like what you want to hear, but it's the reality. The reason for this is that air filters, especially disposable ones, are made of woven fibers which are often fiberglass or polyester. These materials have proven to be difficult to recycle. Many recycling stations often remove them from their list of recyclable materials. 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 their used filter in the best possible way. Instead of leaving the system unprotected, replace the filter with a new one immediately to ensure that the air intake vent remains fully protected at all times. On the other hand, reusable air filters or electrostatic filters can be washed and reused. The first step when dealing with your old HVAC air filter is to contain it so that all dust and dirt is trapped. Professionals recommend changing your HVAC air filter at least every 3 months; if you follow their advice, you'll have to deal with dirty and dusty filters several times a year. In reality, no oven filter or air conditioner filter should go in the trash with the rest of the recycling week.
Instead of worrying about having to recycle old air filters, you can install an electrostatic air filter. Contact your filter supplier and ask if your local recycling branch can dispose of filters. There are some pertinent questions that need to be answered regarding air filters, and one of them is whether air filters are universal or not. This means that you always have to know which air filters are right for use in your home, office or even cars. These filters have been used for months at a time to keep unwanted contaminants out of the air in your home or building. Air filters are used to trap dust, toxic chemicals and harmful particles from the air; so treating them properly is especially important. The next and final step is to tape up the plastic bag so that the air filters don't fall out of it.
We think this goes without saying, but always turn off the air conditioner or heater completely when replacing the air filter to ensure that unfiltered air is not forced through the system.