Are Coffee Filters Compostable?

Compostable Coffee Filters

We love a cup of coffee here at Whole People but recently we began to wonder are coffee filters compostable?

So, we talked to a barista, who is something of an expert in the field of coffee filters and coffee grounds, and this is what we learned about whether you should compost coffee filters or not.


Can You Compost A Coffee Filter?

For the most part, the answer is yes, most coffee filters are paper coffee filters and paper coffee filters will easily compost.

However, this only applies to regular paper filters, you can’t always compost other rare filter types like those made of plastic or linen.

Coffee Filter

You should be aware though that some paper filters are treated with bleach and that means although the paper coffee filter will compost, the coffee filters may not result in healthy compost. It’s best to opt for unbleached filters if you want to pop your used coffee filter into your garden compost pile.

Your compost pile should appreciate your used coffee filters, though as both the coffee filter and any coffee grounds that remain are rich in carbon and can help to balance out nitrogen-rich elements in the compost.

Also, coffee filters and grounds help to cancel out the odor generated in a compost bin too and that can be a huge benefit of composting your used coffee filters.


How Long Do Coffee Filters Take To Decompose Fully?

There is no single answer to this question. Mainly, because it depends on the exact coffee filter that you intend to decompose.

Paper filters decay at different rates depending on humidity, temperature, and the recency of manufacture. As a rule of thumb, you should find that in a compost bin it will take around 6-8 months to completely break down.

You can ensure this process is as speedy as possible by turning your compost every couple of weeks to allow air and water to reach the filters.


Do Coffee Filters Have A Negative Environmental Impact?

We recently took a look at the sustainability of coffee in general but when it comes to coffee filters, this is what we know:

The paper in coffee filters is not bad for the environment and composting coffee filters is a net benefit of using a paper filter.

However, it is important to use unbleached coffee filters, you don’t need perfectly white paper and the bleach that is used to make white paper is bad for the environment. If you notice you get a bit of a “papery” taste in your coffee when using these coffee filters, just rinse them with hot water before you make the coffee.

In our understanding of things, coffee grounds and filters are generally pretty good for the environment if you follow that simple rule as they are made mainly of organic matter.

Of course, you can always switch to chicory coffee if you want to avoid coffee filters altogether.

And don’t forget to use a vegan coffee creamer no matter what sort of coffee you opt for.


You Can Reuse Coffee Filters

Before you start adding coffee to your compost, however, you ought to consider reusing your filters which is also great for the environment.


Dump The Coffee Grounds And Go Again

Reusing Coffee Filters

Filter manufacturers would love you to throw out each filter, every time you use it, but you don’t need to.

Instead, you can dump the grounds in the compost, and then dry the filter and use it again.

You can make a lot of coffee in your coffee machine using a filter more than once.


Use Them As Fertilizer

You don’t have to place compostable items in a pile or bin, you can use them directly on your plants.

We find that if you leave the grounds in the filter and then bury them in the soil for your house plants, they’ll be happy to nourish them directly.


Strain Cooking Oil With It

Take a used filter, without any coffee in it, and place it over the rim of a bottle of cooking oil.

Invert the bottle over a jar and let the oil pass through the filter, this will clean up the oil and make it usable for cooking once again.

After you’re done, put the filter in the compost.


Line Plant Pots With Them

You can also take a used filter and place it in the bottom of a tray of a plant pot, this helps to prevent water spills and making a mess in your home.


Final Thoughts

You can’t recycle a coffee filter but as they’re compatible if made of paper, this doesn’t matter.

Coffee filters are biodegradable and will help to nourish your garden and they can even be reused a few times before you put them in the compost!

So enjoy your coffee with a clear conscience!

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