Sunday, December 11, 2005

Coffee Filter Update

Many thanks to Lauren, who suggested I search for reusable coffee filters. I didn't realize there would be so many choices! Here are a few links I found, for the green coffeeheads. Several of these companies offer all sorts of other eco-friendly products as well ... but these links will take you to directly to the filters:


It also sounds like bleached paper (which is any white paper) is not something you want in your compost, since the bleach is toxic ... which makes me wonder, do you want to drink bleach with your coffee?

**Note - please read comments attached to this post, I may be wrong about the bleach and will correct the info in a later post.**


At 6:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I finally made it over to your blog. It looks good; I'll link to it when I get time.

In the Humanure Handbook, Joseph Jenkins points out that the bleach is washed out of the finished paper products. If it wasn't, it would pose an irritability problem to everyone. His view is that bleached paper products are fine to compost.

From what I understand, it's the manufacture of bleach which causes the most environmental damage.

At 6:47 AM, Blogger lauren said...

I think that Paul is right about the chlorine used in the bleaching process causing damage. I've been using unbleached coffee filters from a company called If You Care. Now that I look at the box more carefully, though, I see that they are a product of Sweden! I bought them at my local food co-op, so I thought that I was "buying local." Surely buying imported coffee filters is not a sustainable practice. I guess I need to get one of those reusable filters that I was advocating! The co-op sells some so the next time I walk down there, I'll check them out and let you know what I find out.

By the way, I'm also going to add your link to my blogroll over at Ardent Eden.

At 1:36 PM, Blogger SustainableGirl said...

Paul & Lauren,
Thank you so much for the info and linking me on your sites. I'm going to research the bleach issue ... I'm glad you set me straight. It makes sense that we wouldn't be able to use white toilet paper if the bleach were still "active." I'll post better information - again, thanks for letting me know.

At 6:32 PM, Blogger Siel said...

Darling, you're back! After you went MIA for so long, I had to take you off my blogroll so readers who were clicking over wouldn't get frustrated -- But you're back with full force!

Off to add you back in --

At 6:07 PM, Blogger spiral said...

Thanks for the coffee filter info. I don't drink coffee, but my housemate does. I'll have to give him a reuseable filter for the upcoming holiday, and I going to add you to my blogroll, too!

At 7:49 AM, Blogger lauren said...

We ran out of unbleached coffee filters yesterday, so this morning we walked to our food co-op and picked up a reusable coffee filter made of hemp. The company that makes it (Cusp Natural Products) is based in your own Washington state - so it would be a local product for you. (Bonus!) Here it is. The first pot of coffee that we made with it turned out perfectly. The instructions tell you to just rinse it out after the used grounds dry slightly and hang it up to dry. There's a little fabric hook on it.

Thanks for making me think about coffee filters!

At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Mauricio Babilonia said...

Oh, good heavens Lauren, get a permanent metal mesh filter like these. There would be a little more sediment in your coffee, but they tend to last 2-5 years, they don't aquire a taste like hemp or other fiber products and all you have to do is wash them (after you toss the grounds in the compost).

After resolving that issue, you can move on to more advanced topics like growing and preserving some of your own food, learning to make and repair class A, B and C tools, and addressing community environmental issues. A year from now, coffee filters and paper towels will look like the distractions that they are.

At 2:45 AM, Anonymous avs said...


As it turns out, the issue regarding bleached vs. unbleached filters is not as clear-cut.

Unbleached filters may contain more byproducts of pulp manufacturing than bleached ones so they are not necessarily a healthier choice. I heard from a person in paper mfg industry that he'd prefer (oxygen) bleached ones due to this.

Just be sure, for both enviromental and health reasons, that the bleaching was not done with chlorine but oxygen (methods differ, and I am no paper engineer so I guess that ozone and hydrogen peroxide or some other oxygen or peroxide releasing compounds are used).

Of course, a filter made of completely inert material is better (meaning: not natural fibres, not plastics). Stainless steel or gold (not gold-plated plastic) are probably good choices.

And speaking of which. Filter coffee has less fat than french press/espresso, because fat sticks to the filter. Some people think this is a health benefit (I don't). I do not think that inert filters do this - a stainless steel filter just keeps your grounds in the right place, but doesn't soak up fat, I guess. So it may taste different.

Anyway, if you want better coffee, getting yourself a french press or a moka pot not only frees you from filters but also gets you better coffee.

At 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think there's any arguing that inert (gold, etc) filters are a better choice than either bleached or unbleached paper filters. But I've also heard that paper filters absorb oils that otherwise raise bad (LDL?) cholesterol, making them a healthier choice than non-paper filters. Comments?

At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and a p.s. to my 'healthier' comment; I suspect that if you buy unbleached and compost it w/ the grounds when you're done, the impact nears that of a gold filter...mb?

At 3:37 AM, Blogger J-dog said...

Personally, I think using compostable filters is probably better, environmentally, than using a reusable filter. If, that is, you do compost and you use your compost. When I used a reusable gold mesh filter, I had to rinse it each time I used it--water down the drain, and nutrient-rich coffee grounds in the river (which is usually a bad thing for rivers).


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