First I want to clarify I live in a city that does compost (Seattle). Also taste is not a concern for the sake of this discussion. Knowing that...

I am not sure what is a more environmentally friendly choice of a type of coffee filter between...

a. Unbleached paper coffee filters that are compostable

b. Cloth coffee filter that is easily rinsable with hot water

Does anyone know which one is the friendlier choice?

I guess it's you can also see it as a city compost vs use of hot water question.

  • You may think of metal filters, as in French-press. Or, you can go radical and start brewing Turkish coffee, where no filter exists at all.
    – MTSan
    Dec 7, 2018 at 15:11
  • What kind of coffee / brewing method do you prefer? From your question, it seems we are talking about pour-over?
    – Stephie
    Dec 8, 2018 at 8:32
  • @Stephie The method is irrelevant for this discussion? The question is: what is more friendly towards the environment? Composting coffee filters or washing reusable ones?
    – George W
    Dec 9, 2018 at 21:21
  • Well, it may not be irrelevant if you were considering filter-free methods as well. (No filter being possibly the most environmentally friendly?) If you prefer pour-over, the options are more limited. I asked for clarification about the scope of your question. But it seems you’re just allowing for two options at all.
    – Stephie
    Dec 9, 2018 at 21:46
  • @Stephie I see why you wanted clarification now :)
    – George W
    Dec 10, 2018 at 2:27

2 Answers 2


My choice is the Melitta “All natural bamboo filter”. Manufacturer claims “made with 40% bamboo” and “recycled paperboard” and “100% compostable filter paper”. I grind my beans using the Turkish setting for a super fine grind and use a hand poured one cup filter system which gives me a really super full rich taste. Michael Gamble

  • Hello, while I do appreciate your suggestion this does not answer the question I am asking. Is composting coffee filters more friendly towards the environment than washing a reusable filter?
    – George W
    Dec 9, 2018 at 21:20

Of course Option B.

Water is fully recyclable. So rinsing vs composting is more friendly.


  • What do you mean water is recyclable? Isn't the world headed towards a water shortage crisis?
    – George W
    Dec 14, 2018 at 17:32
  • Where there are water shortages, and there are, those areas lack the infrastructure to collect, process and distribute the water. In Seattle, like most major US cities, waste water is processed and reused. This includes managing street wastewater and reclamation from reservoirs. Seattle is more active than most with a high value on protecting the environment. Look at the recycle program with pride. Pacific Northwest people think different. Dec 14, 2018 at 20:48
  • hot water, though, requires energy. also, any kind of recycling isn't free, either. a thorough comparison must include all production, transport, and recycling costs.
    – ths
    Dec 16, 2018 at 12:19
  • I agree with @ths. So, here you mean the cost of a wastewater infrastructure, environmental effects of its construction, and continuous wastewater process and its effects has less environmental cost than a paper filter. I doubt that if I cannot see a comprehensive report.
    – MTSan
    Dec 17, 2018 at 9:55
  • Assuming that we unnecessarily rinse a filter with hot water. The production of that hot water for the rinse is less than the production of the hot water used in the harvesting, manufacture, and delivery of the bamboo into that final form. Esp given the existing infrastructure for the water. That bamboo is highly sustainable, yet, requires basically the same type of processing as paper. It is great that its sustainable and I love it, but, nothing is free. :) Dec 17, 2018 at 14:20

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