Informational Guide

Are Air Purifier Filters Recyclable? (How To Dispose)

by Josh M

Are air filters recyclable? That’s a good question, and it all depends on what material they’re made out of, such as plastic, polyester, fiberglass, or synthetic fibers. We’ll dive into answering if you can throw your filter into the recyclables after use. We’ll also look at how to dispose of air purifier filters safely.

Seeing that air purifiers require constant filter replacement for better air quality, it’s no surprise that people would consider recycling when you go through countless per year. However, it’s not as simple as throwing them into the bin. Air filters have a cardboard or plastic frame, but the actual filter itself is made from non-recyclable products.

Fiberglass makes up a lot of filter brands, being an affordable, reliable, and effective choice for trapping dust and debris and maintaining airflow. Activated carbon is another option, created from charcoal that’s been used for centuries to clean water and air. These filters are safe and reliable, consistently trapping particles and keeping the air fresh.

Filter manufacturers sometimes use plastics for durability and affordability. Since you can wash them, these filters are eco-friendly and remove impurities just as well as the first two options.

So, can you recycle air filters? Air purifier filters are generally not regarded as recyclable due to the risk of contamination. They should be disposed of in a trash bag every few months to keep you healthy.

What about HVAC air filters? Your best bet would be to contact an HVAC company to see if they would possibly be able to recycle your used filters. Getting in touch with a representative would confirm if they would be able to dispose of the used filters or create new filters from the recyclable materials.

HEPA Filter for Air Purifier

How To Dispose Of Air Purifier Filters? (Safe Ways)

Here is how to dispose of air filters to ensure that contaminants don’t escape back into the air.

Place the old filter into the trash or plastic bag to trap the dust and debris. Have the bag ready to go, so when you swap them out, removing the old one from the air purifier, you can immediately put the used filter into the bag.

Tie up the trash bag, and try not to shake or bump the bag too much. The dirt and debris can easily unsettle, and what you see caught in the filter is only a portion of how much the filter has collected. If you bang it against something, you risk releasing microscopic particles into the air, such as mold, bacteria, and viruses.

Tie the bag strings, and you can go the extra mile by taping the bag shut. You ensure that the bag is sealed correctly, holding any nasty contaminants in place by taking this extra step. Use secure tape, such as duct tape, so that the bag won’t pop open.

Throw out the filters in an outdoor trash can. Even though bags are a safe way to throw out the old filters, they can puncture. If that happens and you keep the used filter inside, you release more dust and debris back into your house.

Remember to shut off the purifier before replacing the filter. Then you don’t have to worry about unfiltered air coming through the system while changing out filters. Not having a filter in the purifier could damage the equipment.

How To Dispose of Specific Filter Brands

The previous advice applies to all purifier filters generally. But we’ll briefly break down a few brand examples and what the manufacturer recommends below.

You should throw Dyson air filters into the garbage after replacement. Follow the same steps as above with bagging the filter, then sealing and taping the bag before tossing it into the garbage. Dyson air filters are not recyclable or washable.

E-Z Flow air filters are similar, lasting up to 30 days before you have to swap them out with a new filter. Even though there are chipboard and metal elements for additional support, the filtering material is fiberglass which is not recyclable.

Austin air filters last for up to five years with normal use. Nonetheless, Austin air filters must be disposed of in the same fashion as the previous air filters. If you try to clean the filter, not only could you damage the filter, but you risk harming yourself.

Locations that dispose of bulbs or batteries tend to take Sub-Zero Air Filters, but they cannot be recycled normally. In the same vein, Air Bear Filters are made from synthetic material which clears the air you breathe but will have to be replaced once they accumulate dirt and dust.

The Pro Particle Filter from Blueair is recyclable, so you can rest easy knowing that you’re not creating too much excess waste. Of course, you can double-check with your local recycling location to confirm.

Are Air Filters Considered Hazardous Waste?

Most people don’t have hazardous filters in their everyday homes. However, some air filters can be considered hazardous waste—for example, paint booth filters. Employees take extra care to replace these and protect the air quality while working and the environment. The exhaust filters collect paint and particles, and employees must evaluate them to determine whether they contain hazardous substances to avoid later dangers in the dumpsters.

Hazardous filters must be stored in a non-leaking container. They are marked with the hazardous waste symbol before being tossed. Then, a licensed waste professional transports the filters.

Bulex Air Purifier Filter

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Here are a few frequently asked questions on recycling air filters.

Can air filters catch on fire?

Since air purifiers depend on electricity, there’s always a fire risk. Air purifiers can overheat and short circuit, so it’s best to place them in areas with good ventilation. The quality of the purifier can also affect its performance. Catching fire is more likely if you overuse the purifier or the filter expires.

What do the leading brands and companies say about air filter recycling?

Professionals advise you to change the air purifier filter about every three months, depending on the filter you have. The disposable brands made out of woven fibers such as polyester or fiberglass are not recyclable.

You also have to consider your health and exposing yourself to dirt, dust, or even harmful chemicals. That’s why purifier filters should go in the garbage instead.

Is it better to buy washable and reusable filters?

Reusable filters are undoubtedly more eco-friendly since they last five to ten years. Overall, washable and reusable filters are cheaper in the long run but require more effort than just throwing them away.

You can clean and reuse permanent or washable HEPA filters many times as long as it doesn’t damage the filter. You can gently vacuum or rinse the filter with cold water. Make sure your wet air filter completely dries before reinstalling it.


Overall, air purifier filters aren’t recyclable. But there are other options to consider if you don’t want to create unnecessary waste. You can contact your city to ask how to dispose of an air purifier filter or simply do it yourself by following the safe steps in this article.

Related Article – Are Air Purifiers Safe?

Last Updated on January 9, 2023

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.