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Looking for eco friendly water filter options?
Water filters are a great way to reduce contaminants commonly found in tap water – from everyday odours to chlorine and heavy metals such as chromium or lead.
The problem is, many water filters – from simple filter jugs to powerful countertop systems contain a lot of plastic parts.
Science has found that many plastics pose environmental and health concerns and according to this study even ‘BPA free’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘safer’.
And whilst it’s effective at purifying, a filtering process such as reverse osmosis produces a lot of ‘waste’ water (on average around 4 gallons per gallon of purified water). This can ramp up your bills if you’re on a water metre.
Add to that an estimated 100 million single-use plastic water filter cartridges going into landfill each year & the carbon footprint starts to add up.
Short On Time?
Our best eco friendly water filters top picks are:
Best For Ditching Plastic – pH Replenish (1 or 1.8 litres)
Best For Eco Filters – Phox V2 (2.2 litres)
Best Fridge Friendly – Soma (6 cups)
Best For Powerful Filtration – Big Berkey (2.25 gallons)
Best Biodegradable Filters – Black + Blum Carafe (1 litre)
Eco Friendly Water Filter Benefits
So, if you’re consciously minded about the materials, processes and parts used in water filters and their impact on the environment, choosing a filter that’s designed to have less impact on the environment is a greener choice to make.
Whether you want to invest in a glass water filter (or bottle), filter your water without the use of plastic cartridges or switch to plant based filtration, choosing a water filter that’s been designed with sustainability in mind is a great way to:
- stay hydrated
- benefit your health
- lower your carbon footprint
- reduce single use plastic filter cartridge waste
- help the environment.
Below we’ve picked out 5 of the best eco friendly water filters across a range of budgets – from affordable glass water filter pitchers to plant based filtration & powerful stainless steel filters that should last you a lifetime.
How To Choose An Eco Water Filter
Budget will likely be your first thing to consider. Jug & pitcher filters are usually the most affordable. These will generally reduce chlorine & heavy metals, such as lead via a carbon based filter.
Next think about the main material the filter is made from. If you want to reduce plastic for environmental reasons, look for glass or stainless steel filters with no or limited plastic parts. If it’s for health concerns, look specifically for filters where plastic parts don’t come into contact with the water.
Also think about what you want from the actual filter cartridge. Plastic water filter cartridges are hard to recycle & account for a huge amount of landfill waste each year. Sustainable ‘cartridges’ you can refill or re-use offer a greener alternative. Ceramic filters offer another eco alternative to plastic, as they can be washed & re-used. They’re not as common, but they’re highly efficient & considered one of the most powerful filter media.
Also think about capacity. If you want an eco friendly filter that fits in your fridge, consider a smaller capacity filter, such as the Soma glass carafe (should fit on most standard fridge shelves). Or if you want a larger capacity, consider a gravity fed filter, such as the Big Berkey, which fits ceramic filters.
5 Eco Friendly Water Filters For 2022
Below we’ve picked out 5 of the best eco friendly water filters that reduce plastic, offer refillable filter cartridges or are made by companies with sound environmental ethics.
1 – pH Replenish
Made From: Glass/stainless steel/minimal plastic
Capacity: 1 litre or 1.8 litres
Filters Out: Reduces chlorine & heavy metals
Best For: Minimal plastic/alkaline water
Summary: An eco friendly water filter that shuns plastic, alkalises your water & can also be used as a tea, coffee or fruit infuser.
Further Details: If you’re looking for an eco friendly alternative to plastic, take a look at the pH Replenish.
Made from sturdy borosilicate glass with a stainless steel filter housing, the pH Replenish reduces chlorine taste & odour, as well as heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, copper & lead. There’s a small amount of plastic in the lid & top of the filter housing, but these don’t touch the filtered water.
The handy replaceable filter pouch means there’s no plastic filter cartridge waste to add to the 100 million filter cartridges that go into landfill each year, plus the filter pouch lasts an average of 106 days for 2 people; longer than many other similar filters. Ceramic balls in the filter pouch also increase the pH of your water, making it more alkaline.
Depending on how much water you drink, you’ve also got the choice of a 1 or 1.8 litre capacity jug & if you like your water infused, you can simply add some fruit to the stainless steel filter housing.
2 – Phox V2
Made From: Glass/BPA free plastic
Capacity: 2.2 litres (1.75 filtered)
Filters Out: Reduces chlorine & heavy metals
Best For: Eco friendly filter refills
Summary: A stylish, eco friendly, water filter jug with a decent capacity & refillable eco cartridge.
Further Details: With an eye on sustainability, Phox claim to have invented the first refillable cartridge, making the 2.2 litre Phox 2 a contender for one of the most eco filters on the market.
A filter pack lasts you an average of 45 days, then you simply dispose of your used filter granules and pour in new ones.
The refillable filter on the Phox 2 is a great way to reduce the 100 million filter cartridges that go into landfill every year, plus the filter pack will also alkalise your water, increasing its pH. Each refill pack contains 2 x 45 day filter packs & according to Phox the filter ’emits 75% less C02 than competing brands’.
Keep in mind; if you’re looking to avoid plastic, the Phox 2 does contain BPA free plastic parts, but the main jug that stores the filtered water is made from glass.
3 – Soma Glass Carafe
Made From: Glass
Capacity: 6 glasses (48 oz)
Filters Out: Reduces chlorine & heavy metals
Best For: Fridges/ethical company
Summary: Stylish, glass water filter carafe that fits most fridges, from an ethically based company.
Further Details: As a registered Certified B Corporation, Soma are legally required to consider their impact on workers, customers, suppliers & community, as well as the environment.
A conscious brand with sustainability at their core, Soma donate to a water charity for every purchase made. They also offset their carbon emissions.
Soma’s glass water carafe itself is made from shatter-resistant, borosilicate glass and holds 6 cups of water. The filter utilises the power of activated coconut shell carbon & charcoal & lasts around 2 months (it’s not yet biodegradable though).
It’s not got the largest capacity, but it’s a stylish alternative to the more traditional filter ‘jug’ or pitcher & should fit in most fridges.
4 – Big Berkey
Made From: Stainless steel
Capacity: 2.25 gallons
Filters Out: Addresses 200+ contaminants
Best For: Powerful filtering/ceramic filters
Summary: Powerful stainless steel water filter that fits eco friendly ceramic filters & should last you a lifetime.
Further Details: The Big Berkey water filter system packs a powerful filtering punch & claims to address over 200 different contaminants.
A standalone, gravity fed filter (gravity fed filters filter slower than other filters, which is considered more effective), it doesn’t come cheap, but if you’ve got the budget, this is arguably one of the most powerful water filters you can buy.
Made from quality stainless steel, the filter is easy to assemble, use & clean. Internal filters are also long lasting, plus you’ve got the option to add separate fluoride filters. The spigot tap is plastic, but you can replace with a metal one quite cheaply.
Opt for ceramic filters if you’d prefer to avoid plastic filter cartridges. Ceramic filters are one of the most eco friendly filters you can get because they can be repeatedly washed and reused.
If the price seems a little too high, try the British Berkefeld – it pretty much does the same thing as the Big Berkey.
5 – Black + Blum Glass Carafe
Made From: Glass, cork & silicone
Capacity: 1 litre
Filters Out: Reduces chlorine taste & odour
Best For: Biodegradable filters/no plastic
Summary: Simple but effective way to purify tap water using biodegradable charcoal sticks.
Binchotan charcoal has been used as a water purifier in Japan since the 17th century. Made by slow-burning oak wood until it carbonizes, Binchotan sticks contain endless tiny cavities that absorb impurities such as chlorine.
Natural & biodegradable, Binchotan sticks are very easy to use.
This elegant glass water filter from Black + Blum utilises the Binchotan charcoal method inside a stylish carafe. You simply drop the stick of charcoal into the carafe, add tap water & leave for between 2 – 8 hours, or overnight, for best results.
You can also ‘recharge’ a Binchotan charcoal stick every 2-3 weeks by boiling it for 10 minutes. A single stick should last you up to 6 months, depending on usage.
Inexpensive to buy individual sticks of Binchotan charcoal can also be used in a glass container you already have or even added to a reusable water bottle. Here’s a tutorial on how to make your own homemade binchotan charcoal water filter.
Binchotan charcoal will also adds minerals to your water & improves it’s pH & once it’s reached its use, you can compost it.
How To Recycle Plastic Filter Cartridges
With an estimated 100 million single -use plastic water filter cartridges ending up in landfill each year, the carbon footprint on water filters is a hefty one.
So if you currently use a water filter jug with replaceable cartridges & want to make steps towards living more sustainably, it’s worth finding out if you can recycle them locally.
Alternatively, if you use BRITA filter cartridges, they offer a recycling programme that ensures all parts of a used BRITA filter are properly recycled or re-used.
Eco Friendly Water Filters: Conclusion
There are now a number of water filters on the market that use less (or no) plastic, utilise greener alternatives to the traditional plastic filter cartridge or opt for plant based & renewable materials.
Choosing an eco-friendly water filter such as the PH Replenish or Phox 2 ditches the issue of single-use water filter cartridges completely, as both filters use refillable filter pouches or granules.
Soma are another ethical brand that produce a stylish glass carafe that uses 60% plant based or renewable materials, or you’ve got the option of biodegradable Binchotan charcoal for an inexpensive, eco friendly way to purify water at home.
And if you’ve got the budget, it’s hard to beat the Big Berkey for the number of pollutants it tackles. It’s built to last a lifetime, but does still use filters, which at the time of writing are not recommended for recycling.