Most if not all major utility companies recommend replacing the air filters in your furnace or air conditioner every month. While on the surface this seems like good advice it does not take into account environmental conditions or usage factors. In the context of recycling and reducing the amount of spent (used) air filters into our landfills we should inspect our filters to see if they actually need replaced. This process can be a quick visual inspection. Pulling your air filter while the unit is not running can give an indication of how clean the filter is. If there is noticeable debris on the filter itself, it should be replaced. If you can still see the mesh fibers then you probably have a little more time left on your air filter. Keeping a clean air filter in your system reduces the energy draw that your unit requires to operate. In some cases it is reported that keeping a clean filter can reduce your energy bill by $30 or more per year and provide a cleaner living environment for your family.
I always have spare air filters on hand because at peak times (usually the summer months) when the A/C is constantly running, the pollen in my area may clog my air filter more than in other areas of the country. New construction areas may be susceptible to more dust, pets and pet hair will clog an air filter faster, etc.
How can we recycle air filters? The quick answer is; we can't. There is not currently an option for recycling air filters in Northern Kentucky. What we can do though is migrate towards using washable air filters or electronic air cleaners. Electronic air cleaners are expensive and not an option for most budgets. Washable air filters are less expensive and also reduce the amount of trash we are sending to local landfills. A quick search on Amazon yields many results. Washable Air Filters on Amazon.