Water filters are a lot more environmentally friendly than their bottled water counterparts. 

Statistics have shown:

Bottled water marketing campaigns have been so successful in making people suspicious of their tap water, that sales skyrocketed 700 percent between 1997 and 2005. And from 1999 to 2017, per capita bottled water consumption has ballooned from 16.2 gallons to 42.1 gallons. Skyrocketing as well—the environmental degradation, landfill waste, and human rights abuses associated with bottled water. Plus, studies have shown that it’s no safer than tap water. The EPA notes that bottled water, like any water, can be expected to have some contaminants, although that does not make it unsafe.

It is crazy to me that sales of bottled water skyrocketed 700% and have continued to climb to the present. 

All this being said, if your plain tap water is not ok enough to drink as is, please DO NOT buy bottled water, use a filter instead. 

Honestly, any reusable filter system is better than buying bottled water. However, some water filters are more environmentally friendly than others.

I will explore these options in a minute. First let’s look at arguably the most popular at-home water filter system, Brita.

brita water filter

Are Brita filters eco-friendly?

What a tricky question to answer. Brita kind of straddles the line into the grey area. They are trying to be eco-friendly. Meaning, they are making an effort to make their products recyclable. 

This being said, recycling a Brita filter is not as simple as putting it into your curbside recycling box. Therein lies the problem. People are much less likely to recycle the more steps that are required to actually recycle a product.

You used to have to mail your spent Brita filter to a company called Terracycle, and they would recycle it accordingly. However, that program is now closed, so now you can’t recycle your Brita filter.

As a company, Brita is trying to be more environmentally friendly with their sustainability practices:

  • The carbon footprint of one liter of Brita-optimized water is up to 25X smaller than that of bottled water
  • 90% of their electricity comes from renewable resources

My opinion as to whether or not Brita filters are eco-friendly is that while they are trying, they aren’t there yet. Once they get a reliable recycling program in place for their cartridges, then I will give them my stamp of approval. Until then, hopefully, they keep working towards a more sustainable model.

Now, let’s explore my picks for the top three environmentally friendly water filters.  I will be looking at three different types, a water filter pitcher, a fixed water filter system, and a more portable option.

In no particular order…

Sustainable water filter pitcher

phox v2 water filter

Phox V2 water filter

Phox is really aiming at being the most eco-friendly water filter on the market, and they just might be when it comes to water pitchers. 

Here’s a look at their sustainability efforts:

  • Refillable cartridges
    • Phox V2 has taken away the burden of responsibility on the customer by making their cartridge refillable instead of recyclable
    • Uses activated carbon derived from coconut shells
  • Letterbox delivery 
    • The new filter delivery simply contains the media contents for you to pour into your refillable cartridge
    • The little Kraft paper bags can fit inside a slim cardboard box small enough to fit through your letterbox
  • Recycled plastic
    • Avoiding the need to replace the cartridge each month means they prevent thousands of new cartridges needing to be produced from virgin plastic
    • Better yet, no virgin plastic is used at all in the V2 production
    • The carbon footprint of the recycled polymer is 73% less than the virgin equivalent
  • Sustainable packaging
    • The Phox V2 arrives in a recycled cardboard box with no single-use plastic element

Biodegradable water filter system

tapp 2 water filter

Tapp 2 water filter

TAPP 2 tap water filter uses Activated Carbon technology to adsorb contaminants.

This material is the most adsorbent organic material in the world and is completely natural and sustainable. It comes from coconut shells, which have a very porous surface with millions of micro-holes to let the water flow through while adsorbing the water contaminants.

Tapp 2 removes many contaminants including:

  • Chlorine and its byproducts
  • Heavy metals including lead
  • Pesticides
  • Microplastics

Cartridges have a lifetime of 3 months maximum. There is even an app that helps you keep track of your cartridge life and remind you when it’s time for a new one.

Here are some more fun facts about the Tapp 2 refill cartridges:

    • Made out of non-toxic materials which remain inert after decomposing
    • Cartridges contain a high percentage of biodegradable and compostable material
      • Can be disposed of with organic waste (commercial, not backyard)

The device itself (without the refills) is made out of highly recyclable ABS polymers.  Tapp 2 is a great choice for a sustainable water filter system.

Activated Charcoal water filter 

black and blum active charcoal water filter

Binchotan Active Charcoal water filter by Black and Blum

Active charcoal works by simply filling your water bottle with water, adding in the charcoal filter, letting it sit for at least an hour (overnight is ideal) and then enjoy your great tasting water!

Active charcoal filters:

  • Removes chlorine
  • Adds minerals
  • Lasts for 6 months
  • Can be used in any bottle

This is a great zero waste option as you can throw the spent charcoal filter in the compost. Activated charcoal is also a great option for anyone looking for a plastic-free water filter.

So there you have it, the most environmentally friendly water filters on the market today, at least in my opinion. 

I have to say, my favorite goes to the activated charcoal stick based on how easy it is to use and it is essentially zero waste. Gotta love it.

Though, I think the Phox V2 water jug is a great product as well, the company is really making great strides at being the most eco-friendly water filter on the market. 

The Tapp 2 system is a good choice if you’re looking for a stationary filtration system that is hooked up to your tap. 

Depending on what you are looking for, I think any of these three environmentally friendly water filters are a great choice you can feel good about having in your home or office. Way more eco-friendly than plastic bottled water.

Do you drink filtered water? If so, what is your filter of choice? Let me know in the comments below.

Cheers, and have an awesome day!


  1. JoHn

    The charcoal sticks being composted doesn’t sound great. They’d be laden with toxic compounds. Would it be better to place them in the trash?

    • Kathy

      They should be Ok to compost. If you don’t want them in your own personal compost, you could compost them in a municipal compost instead. Hope that helps. Cheers!

    • Well

      I would imagine if you have a well that it would certainly be ok to compost the sticks as the contents are naturally found in your water to begin with.

  2. Charlotte

    What about the Go Pure pods?

    • Kathy

      Thanks for your question! GOpure is a great option for portable water filters. I love that it comes in a sustainable glass container and you can send back the spent pod for recycling.
      Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

  3. Angelica Chayes

    Hey thanks so much for this article. You made it so easy for us to find a less-waste, less-plastic alternative! Thanks for doing the legwork for us!


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