Can You Compost Coffee Filters

Nature demands a gift for everything that it gives, so what we have to keep doing, is returning back to the soil, then we’re continuously giving the gifts to nature because we have a return cycle. – Geoff Lawton

Our planet, according to climatology and climatologists, has reached a tipping point.

Humanity either recycles and sees the need to strive to achieve some sort of balance with nature, or we can continue to chart a course down a path of wanton excess and recklessness and by doing so, seal not only our own fate but also that of the world that we call home.

It’s more important than ever that we recycle and reuse everything that we possibly can, and make the most of the time we’ve been given to turn a possible catastrophe into a victory that tomorrow’s generations will thank us for.

And while it isn’t one of the most illustrious forms of recycling, composting plays a large role in helping to protect and preserve our environment.

But, if we’re going to fully embrace composting, we need to know what we can and can’t successfully compost, which leads us to the question, can you compost coffee filters?

One Of These Filters Is Different From The Other Filters, One Of These Filters Is Not The Same…

It’s important to understand that when we’re talking about coffee filters for composting, we are talking about paper filters. 

A significant number of modern drip coffee makers use filter baskets, and while we’re fans of the filter basket, because they’re simple to clean, straightforward to use, and more often than not last for the entirety of your drip coffee maker’s lifetime and make life a lot easier, you can’t compost them. 

Filter baskets are made from plastic, so while they’re a big composting no-no, they are ideal for recycling. As is your old drip coffee maker, so when it eventually goes to the big caffeine deity in the sky, it can be recycled along with its basket filter. 

Paper filters on the other hand, well, they’re a different matter altogether.

So You Can Compost Paper Coffee Filters Then? 

Short answer? Yes. Longer answer? Absolutely. 

Coffee papers, as they’re made of paper which is an ideal mulch for compost, will naturally break down in your compost, and as they’re part of the brown material family, are actually beneficial to your compost. 

What Is Brown Material

We’re going to take a time out to briefly explain what a brown material is, as they’re one of those compostable materials that every gardener should be adding to their compost and making the most of. 

Brown material covers just about anything that is composed of dry or wood-based plant material, and as paper filers are made from wood pulp, they fall right in the middle of this carbon-rich compostable group. 

And We’re Back To The Filter Papers

Even though paper filters are absolutely fine to be added to compost, if you subscribe to a wholly organic philosophy, you might want to start looking a little more closely at the brand of filter papers that you use.

A lot of manufacturers bleach and chemically treat their filter papers, processes which while they make them far more efficient in the coffee maker, aren’t exactly an organic gardener’s best friend, so if you’re an organic composter, you going to want to read the small print on the filter papers that you use far more carefully from now on. 

And maybe, if you want to ensure that your compost is one hundred percent organic, you’ll want to switch to a brand that utilizes a far more natural approach to manufacturing their filter papers.

However, that doesn’t mean that paper filters that have been prepared a little more vigorously for their natural coffee environment aren’t compostable. They absolutely are, it’ll just take them a little longer to fully break down than it takes their more natural rivals to return to the earth.

And as we said, if you’re an organic composter, non-organic filter papers can throw a spanner into the works of the balance of your compost. 

Giving The Filter Paper Composting Process A Helping Hand

Nature always appreciates a helping hand and there are things that you can do to speed the composting process up and make it easier for your filter papers to give back to the soil what they originally took.

With that in mind, we thought we’d give you some helpful tips to make the process of compositing your coffee filter papers even easier than it already is. 

It Isn’t Just The Papers

It might seem fairly obvious, but it isn’t just the filter papers that you can compost, your used coffee is every bit as compostable as the papers are.

Instead of adding it to your recycling, you can tip the used grounds out of the filter papers and into, or onto, your compost and let nature do what it does best and reclaim them. 

Small Is Good, Small Is Your Friend

The ideal way to compost any paper is by mulching it, and as most of us don’t have the means to do that to our filter papers, the next best thing we can to speed up the rate at which they’re composted is by breaking them down.

How do you do this?

You just tear your filter papers into tiny pieces and add them to the compost. Every little bit helps.

A Little At A Time

Another thing to remember is that if you add too many filter papers at once, it’ll take much longer for them to break down with the rest of your compost.

Don’t save the papers and add a whole week’s worth on a Sunday, add them gradually. As and when you’re finished using a filter paper, tear it up and add it to your compost. 

Mixing In

If the filter papers get too dry, they won’t compost anywhere near as quickly as they would if they were moist. 

When you add them to your compost, take an extra couple of minutes to stir them in. The wetter and more evenly spread out they are, the faster they’ll break down with the rest of your compost. 

Reuse, Recycle

It’s a common myth and modern misconception that you can’t reuse filter papers, you can.

Almost all filter papers, as long as you tip the used coffee grains and grounds on to your compost, can be used two or three times. So reuse them before you compost them.

It’s a cost-effective way of slightly reducing your carbon footprint and makes sure that when you do add your filter papers to your compost, they’ll break down much more easily and far more quickly. 

Can You Compost Coffee Filters? Yes You Can

So can you compost coffee filters?

Absolutely, and if you follow our handy guide to how to do it, you can enjoy every cup of coffee you make that little bit more, as you’ll know that every sip you take is helping to save the planet.

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