Okay, remember all my posts about how frustrating it was that Brita filter cartridges can be recycled in Europe but not in the U.S.? And how we had our water tested and found it perfectly fine without plastic water filter cartridges? Well, giving up water filters was a fine decision for us here in the SF Bay Area where we have some of the best water in the nation. But it’s not a great solution for folks in other areas of North America that may not.
If you’ll recall, I set up a recycle_brita Yahoo! group to plan strategy for a campaign to urge Clorox, the company that owns Brita in North America, to develop a similar Take Back Recycling Program for Brita cartridges here. Now, after several months of writing to Clorox and planning our strategy, I’m happy to announce that the Take Back The Filter campaign has officially begun. Join us in asking Clorox to:
1) Redesign its Brita filter cartridges so that the plastic housing can be refilled rather than discarded each time the filter is changed.
2) Provide a take-back program, such as the one that exists in Europe, so that used cartridges can be returned to the company for recycling.
3) Create a system for the cartridges to be dismantled and the components recycled/reused domestically rather than landfilled, incinerated, or shipped overseas.
Please visit the new web site: http://www.takebackthefilter.org for complete background information and to take action.
What are we asking you to do?
1) Sign the petition at www.takebackthefilter.org.
2) Send me your used Brita filter cartridges. I have set up a mailbox specifically for this purpose. Or, if you live in the Bay Area, you can email me to arrange pickup. Instructions are at www.takebackthefilter.org. At some point, we’ll deliver them all to Clorox (whose corporate office is just down the street from me in Oakland) to make a strong, visual statement.
3) If you’re feeling really motivated, please write a letter to Clorox. A sample letter is also included at www.takebackthefilter.org, of course.
4) And finally, spread the word. Tell everyone you know. Collect their used cartridges and ask them to sign the petition. We even have a sample e-mail at at www.takebackthefilter.org for you to cut and paste.
If you have a blog, please use the following code to paste this badge onto your site:
<a href="http://www.takebackthefilter.org"><img src="https://myplasticfreelife-com.exactdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/take_back_the_filter_badge21-1.gif" width="160"></a>
Even better, write a blog post and encourage your readers to sign the petition and send us their filters. Wouldn’t it be amazing if a truly grassroots campaign like ours could help create change in a major corporation like Clorox?
So who is this “we” I keep referring to? We are Beth, Seth, Juli, Becky, Tom, Nicole, Barb, Margaret, Susan, Cat, and others who joined the recycle_brita Yahoo! group, wrote letters to Clorox and, when Clorox’s responses were less than encouraging, created this campaign. You can also read Clorox’s form letters to us at www.takebackthefilter.org.
Why am I not giving you more info in this post and why am I not linking to specific pages on the site? Because I really, really, really, really hope you will go to the site and browse around and check it out. It’s taken many sleepless nights, but I’m hoping it will be worth it.
Do I believe that getting a company to recycle a few (actually millions, but still) water filter cartridges is the biggest environmental challenge we face? Heck no. But I believe in the principle of Extended Producer Responsibility (which Seth brought to my attention), and this is my contribution towards creating a world in which companies consider the entire life cycle of the products they create, rather than simply pumping out more and more stuff and allowing it to pollute the planet at the end of its useful life.
I wish you could see me bouncing in my chair. I’m so excited to have this campaign finally sprung on the world. Can’t wait to find out what happens!