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Reusable Filters – Save Time, Money, and Resources

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earth-day.jpgToday is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Being aware of how you use your resources is important, not just for saving the earth and resources, but for saving you money.

The good news is that many “green” tips are easy to implement into your daily life. Some of these include energy and money saving tips, the relationship between conservation and frugal living, using a programmable thermostat, and more. Today I want to focus on one more small tip that can help you save money and reduce waste: reusable filters.

Use reusable filters to save money and resources

It sounds like such a small thing, and almost not worth doing, but using reusable filters can actually save you a substantial amount of money and will reduce the amount of waste you produce. The main types of reusable filters I have used are reusable air filters for your car, reusable air filters for your home, and reusable coffee filters.

K&N Air Filters. My favorite car filters are made by K&N. They are reusable and with care will easily last the lifespan of your vehicle – even if you install it right after you roll it off the show room floor. I was skeptical the first time I heard about them and it took me a couple years before I actually bought one. I wasn’t concerned about weather or not it could be reused; I just wasn’t certain I would get my $40 worth out of it, or that it would make a noticeable performance difference (some air filters claim to boost horsepower by 5-15HP).

I drove beaters for a long time and finally purchased a K&N air filter when I bought my first relatively new car (a Toyota Tacoma). The air filter needed changed, so I figured “what the heck, I’ll have this car a few years.” So I bought the K&N air filter and noticed a big difference when I started the car. Part of that was from removing the old air filter, but the performance did seem more improved than I anticipated. I drove that car for another couple years and removed, cleaned, and oiled the K&N air filter several times before I traded in the vehicle for a new car. I will probably use K&N filters in my car from now on. There is a larger up front cost, but the long term benefits are well worth it – just like buying quality tires. You can find them at most auto parts stores, including Advance Auto Parts, Auto Parts Warehouse, and more.

Reusable home air filters. K&N doesn’t make air filters for home use, but maybe they should – I would love to add a little horsepower to my AC unit in the summertime! Reusable home air filters can be found in just about any home improvement store, Wal-Mart, etc. They won’t quite last you the life of your house, but they do have a longer life span than traditional air filters, and the added cost is minimal.

Reusable coffee filters. I am a coffee drinker – I drink it black and strong (strangely enough, I didn’t drink coffee until I started blogging…). I recently bought a new coffee maker and I purchased a reusable filter with it. There are a few benefits to reusable coffee filters – the first is the convenience of never running out of those little paper coffee filters. The second, is the cost. A reusable coffee filter costs about 1.5 – 2 times as much as a pack of paper filters. If you frequently drink coffee then a reusable filter will pay for itself in less than a year. Most importantly, the taste is better. paper coffee filters retain some of the oils in coffee, which are essential to the coffee’s flavor. There is one downside, however. Reusable coffee filters do require cleaning, whereas you can simply remove a paper filter and toss it in the trash. But this is far outweighed by the benefits of reusable coffee filters – improved flavor, convenience, and cost savings.

Save money, save the earth. Winning combination.

Earth Day comes around once a year, but these little tips can save you money year round without making a huge impact in your daily routine – other than saving you time and money. And that is a winning combination in my book!

photo credit: barunpatro.


Published or updated May 11, 2012.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Smarter Spend

Great post for Earth Day… I hope everyone remembers that the word disposable is a euphemism for environmentally destructive. Think about the paper bag land fill floating in the middle of the ocean the size of Texas.

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2 Daddy Paul

Today was Earth day? I guess I missed that one. I have been taking the vacuum to filters for years to save a few bucks. I compost my paper. I think everyone should take a good look in their trash and see what they are wasting.

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