Coffee is an important part of my morning routine. Every day, I wake up and put an unbleached cone-shaped bamboo coffee filter into a pour-over contraption, add my coffee, and do the pour myself. After I’ve had my coffee, I throw the coffee in my compost bin. But can you compost coffee filters? There are some things to take into consideration.
Composting coffee grounds is a common practice. Coffee grounds can add some acidity to your soil, but will otherwise break down quite readily. But whether or not you can compost your coffee filter depends on a few factors.
Can you compost coffee filters?
Before you try to compost your coffee filters, you should question what, exactly, these filters are comprised of. Most single-use coffee filters are made of a paper pulp of some kind, whether it’s wood or bamboo-based. But there is another defining quality to your filters that you might want to consider: bleached and unbleached filters.
What are bleached filters?
Bleached coffee filters are paper filters that have undergone an oxygen-bleaching process that gives it a white appearance. If you have a white coffee filter, it is highly likely that it has been bleached. These filters are considered safe for human consumption, but there are environmental concerns associated with the, mostly on the manufacturing side of it, not the consumption side.
Unbleached filters are simply paper pulp filters that have not undergone any kind of bleaching process and are typically a natural brown or tan color.
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It’s difficult to make a precise determination about whether or not bleached coffee filters can be composted safely. The bleach itself is generally thought to wash out of the filters during the brewing process, but trace amounts may remain in the filter.
When in doubt, go with unbleached filters. These filters contain no bleach and run no risk of leeching bleach into your compost.
How to compost coffee filters
So we’ve established that coffee filters can be composted, but we haven’t talked about how to compost coffee filters yet. There aren’t any special instructions associated with this, but there are a few good practices involved with composting coffee filters. Some tips:
- Dump the coffee from the filter and then use your hands or scissors to shred the filters into smaller pieces.
- Ensure that coffee filters are buried well inside of your compost heap. This will help keep them moist. Dry paper filters won’t break down as easily.
Keep Reading: How Long Does It Take To Make Compost?