Are Chemex Filters Compostable? (Guide & Tips)

Last Updated on May 5, 2022 by John Moretti

The Chemex pour-over coffee brewer is one of the most iconic and most effective brewers on the market today. These brewers are also some of the most popular brewers in the coffee community. Every Chemex brewer requires the use of paper Chemex filters for brewing, and many Chemex users wonder if these thick, bonded paper filters are compostable?

Chemex filters are compostable. Every type of paper filter produced by Chemex, regardless of shape, size, and color, is made from the same fully biodegradable and compostable paper. These filters are thick and double-bonded but contain no adjectives that are 100% compost-safe. 

Chemex filter papers are unique. These filters are designed to work with the Chemex brewer, and no other paper filters work as well in this brewer as the Chemex-designed filters. This means that every Chemex user typically uses the thick, bonded Chemex paper filters. Let’s learn more about Chemex filters and how safe they are for composting. 

Can You Compost Chemex Filters?

Avid coffee drinkers often start composting to make use of all of the ground coffee that they use, rather than just throwing it away. All ground coffee beans are compostable. But many wonder if the paper filters used for brewing are also safe for composting. This is a common question surrounding Chemex filters because these paper filters are double-bonded and especially thick. 

The truth is that Chemex paper filters are compostable. These filters are made from 100% paper, which is natural plant material, making them safe for composting. The Chemex paper filters are especially thick to compensate for the design of the Chemex brewer itself, but the thickness does not come from any adhesives or non-biodegradable materials. 

Most Chemex brewers have a common problem. The way the spout is designed in the brewer causes paper filters to collapse into the spout when they are used for brewing. 

For this reason, Chemex paper filters have to be very thick on one side to support the filter and prevent it from collapsing. This design is why Chemex filters are so thick, meaning that the thickness is not a product of any additives to the paper whatsoever. 

The paper that is used for Chemex paper filters is biodegradable and will break down naturally if it is composted. 

This is great news for every coffee lover who composts their used coffee grounds, as the entire Chemex palate filter and the coffee grounds can be composted altogether, making the process that much easier overall. 

Are All Chemex Filters Compostable?

Chemex paper filters are available in a variety of types. There are square filters, round filters, brown filters, and white filters available for Chemex brewers.

Are all Chemex paper filters compostable?

Every version and variation of Chemex paper filters are fully biodegradable and compatible. The only differences between the filters are their size and how the filters are processed. 

All paper filters made by Chemex consist of the exact same materials. The brown-colored paper filters are processed differently from the white paper filters. They are not exposed to an oxidizing cleansing bath but are rather only bathed in paper before they are dried, cut, and packaged. 

The same is true for the square versus the round paper filters made by Chemex. All of the paper filters are made from the same compostable paper material. 

The only filters made by Chemex that are not compostable are the reusable filters and the metal filters produced by the company. But no one is likely to put these filters in the ground for composting anyway. 

Regardless of which paper filters you use for your Chemex, so long as they are genuine Chemex filters, you can rest assured that the filters are safe to add to your compost along with your used coffee grounds on your next trip out. 

Are Chemex Filter Papers Safe For Compost?

One of the common issues with composting is that compost can be surprisingly delicate. The materials introduced to compost can affect the effectiveness of the compost drastically, which is why not just any natural materials can be used for compost. 

Natural materials that are too acidic, too abrasive, or those that contain high levels of compounds such as proteins are not suitable for composting. This may leave you wondering if any of the non-compost-suitable characteristics are present in Chemex filters? 

Chemex paper filters do not contain any materials, compounds, or characteristics that are not suitable for compost. These papers are not acidic in any way, and they do not contain any form of adhesives or any materials of that nature. 

These filters are intended for use with coffee and therefore are food safe and do not contain any harmful chemicals. Coffee filters must be neutral-tasting so as to not affect the flavor of the coffee that is brewed through them and therefore cannot contain anything adhesives or components that may influence the flavor of the brew. 

The characteristics of Chemex paper filters that make them good for brewing coffee also make them good for composting. Coffee lovers do not want anything contaminating their beverage, and therefore there is nothing present in the filters that may contaminate compost. 

How To Compost Chemex Paper Filters

Composting Chemex paper filters is as simple as composting any other biodegradable, compost-friendly materials. In fact, composting Chemex papers can even make the rest of your composting easier. 

All Chemex paper filters are compostable, which means that they can be added to the compost pile along with the rest of your kitchen trimmings and your spent coffee grounds. The added bonus that comes with composting Chemex paper filters is that the standard filters are very large compared to other coffee filters. 

The large size of these filters means that there is often a lot of room left over above the spent coffee grounds within the filter, and much of the filter remains dry after the brew. This fact, combined with the thickness of the filters, means that they remain relatively structurally sound even after use. 

This means that Chemex filters can be loaded up with spent coffee grounds, kitchen trimmings, and anything else that you want to take to the compost pile and used as a convenient way of carrying the material outside or to your compost bin. 

Once at the compost, simply toss the entire filter and its contents into the pile, and know that the filter and everything in it will break down effectively into the compost. 


Chemex paper filters are thick, double-bonded, and uniquely designed, but that does not mean that these filters are not compostable. 

All paper Chemex paper filters are compostable, biodegradable, and will not compromise your compost pile whatsoever. These filters even provide a handy means of carrying your compostables to the pile!