Some coffee filters are biodegradable, others are not.
With the issues of global warming and climate change, there have been major calls for consumers to patronize biodegradable products. For example, biodegradable coffee filters are considered good for the environment. They minimize pollution from plastic pollutants, and they turn into compost after a few months or years, depending on its composition.
Types of coffee filters
Paper filters. They trap the tiny coffee granules, most of the coffee oils and make the coffee less dark and less bitter. You can rinse paper filters and reuse them several times before disposing of them. But, as a rule, they’re just good for one-time use. After brewing your coffee, just remove the filter and toss it into your trash.
Here are examples of biodegradable filters…
- No name Natural Unbleached Brown Biodegradable – Large Basket
- If You Care Unbleached Coffee Filters – Also known as “guilt trip you with the brand name” coffee filters!
Reusable metal filters. They allow micro-fines or tiny coffee granules of coffee to slip through the holes of the filter. That’s why your cup of coffee appears to be darker, and make the flavor bold and strong.
Is it important for filters to be biodegradable?
As of the moment, not all countries are ready to process and discard bioplastics. Biodegradable plastics can only be turned into composts through industrial composters, although some institutions are studying how these biodegradable products can turn into compost in less expensive ways.
Accordingly, if you have an organic garden and you’re planning to toss your paper coffee filters into your pile, think again. It’s true that you can put the used coffee grounds in your compost, as they are high in nutrients. But, while the paper is generally biodegradable it is safer to put them in the trash intended for biodegradable wastes.
There are no expert studies that say about using coffee filters in compost. And, there are paper filters which may have been bleached and treated with synthetic chemicals. So, unless there’s a note from the manufacturer saying they’re safe to compost, just discard them properly in the biodegradable bin.
On that note, it would appear that the best way to save the environment is through recycling and proper waste disposal.
Which coffee filter should I choose?
Paper filters are costly over time because they’re intended for a single-use. But, they are practically mess-free and will give you a sweeter cup of coffee with no oils, and sediments.
But, if you have no problem with robust and dark coffee which contains more oil and probably sediments, go for the metal filter. It would save you money over time because you don’t have to buy a new one every time you have to make your coffee.
So, if you are looking for longevity and you don’t mind a one-time investment of around $30, you can buy yourself a good quality metal coffee filter that does not need to be replaced for a few years.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.