How to dispose of water softener resin

How To Dispose of Water Softener Resin?

Water softener tanks are a sure addition to almost every household. It ensures the best filtering method to keep your daily used water fresh and edible. Because the heavy water issue is getting worse day by day and this water-softening resin seems to be the long-term and inexpensive solution for that. They use ionized molecule resin beads to attract the dirty water molecules. 1 cubic foot of such resin can clear up to 32,000 harness grains from the water. These beneficial resins can last 15-20 years in ideal use. But how to use water softener resin?

Disposing of water softener resin requires some pre-planned, selective methods when it is time to dispose of them. These methods have well complied with respective rules and regulations implemented by concerned agencies. Now, if you are looking for disposing of water softener resin, you just have found the right content. This content covers expert opinions on what is a water softener resin, how to dispose of them, and if they are recyclable and good for the environment. Read till the end to find the best water softener resin disposal of solution.

Key Takeaways

  • Water softener resin is made from polystyrene, compounding styrene through polymerization.
  • These resins are not usually harmful to nature, but it is better to dispose of them properly.
  • Disposing of them in the washroom commode can create clogging in the plumbing line.
  • Water softener resin is not recyclable, before trying so, contact the manufacturer for possibility.
  • Usually, water softener resins aren’t a threat to the environment by any means.

What Is Water Softener Resin?

What is water softener resin
What is water softener resin

Water softener resins are ionized additives, mostly used for cleaning your water container’s hard water. Due to geographical abnormalities and a lack of pure fresh water sources, hard water has been a common phenomenon in many places. Water softener resins are long-term and inexpensive solutions to filter these vast amounts of water consistently.

Water Softener Resin Made Of: Water softener resin is made from polystyrene, which consists of styrene. Styrene is usually extracted from petroleum or natural gas. When these compounds react, they oxidize the form into polypropylene in a process called polymerization. Small, spherical resin beads are packed in a “bed” inside the tank of a water softener. The resin beads hold a negative charge that will attract any positively charged ions. These resin beds are either made of fine mesh resins or standard resins.

Water Softener Resin Work Process: So the water softener tank has a negatively charged resin bead that is holding the pre-installed, positively charged sodium ions. The calcium and magnesium ions in hard water are also positively charged by nature. When supply water flows through the water softener tank and resin bed, the hardness ions knock the sodium ions off the resin beads and attach to the resin in their place. The sodium ions are then released into the water.

Once all of the resin beads are completely covered with hardness ions, the water softener needs to have a way to get rid of the calcium and magnesium it captured. To continue its efficiency, a brine solution (salt, or sodium chloride) is created to relay sodium ions over the resin bead.

Ways To Dispose Of Water Softener Resins?

The water softener tanker has lots of resin beads in it. But their disposal is relatively easier than seems. But before disposing of them, it requires to clean out first.

Disconnect the resin tank from your plumbing, then remove the riser tube slowly. Pour out the last drop of water from the tank by tilting it. The resins should also come out in this process. Pull out as much resin from the tank. Rinse with water to finish cleaning.

Non-Hazardous Water Softener Resin

Water softener resins are mostly non-hazardous elements. That’s why most people tend to leave them wide open in their house’s garbage corner. But it is not the ideal way to dispose of this resin. Rather you can go for any of the mentioned below:

  1. Dry The Resins: Before going for any disposal process, it is better to dry the resins first. Leave them in the open air under the sun for some time. The water will get vaporized in this process, allowing the resin to dry. Dry resins are more convenient to handle.
  2. Package Securely: Next, pack the water softener resin in a water-tight bag. For that, you can first put the resins in a bucket and fill the bag from there. Securing the bag properly prevents any unwanted spreading of water and resins in disposing process.
  3. Regular Trash Disposal: Put the air-tight trash bag in the regular trash disposal. Don’t throw the bag like normal trashes, as it can spread and make a mess all around the surroundings. Gently place the bag or bags at the bottom of the trash bin.
  4. Label The Container: You might want to put a label on the very container that has disposed resin in it. This will notify the passerby and waste puller to treat that resin container with better attention.
  5. Landfill Dispose: If you don’t have a regular wastage-pulling service then you can opt for the local landfill disposal option. But for that make sure you go for an authorized landfill location, rather than throwing here and there. You can also bury the resins under the soil if they are made using biodegradable materials.
  6. Check Recycling Options: Though resins are not made intending to reuse or recycle them, there might be some local establishments that can recycle such resins. After all, they are made of synthetic polymers, so there is a high chance that they can be recycled into other stuff. But check with manufacturers before doing so.
  7. Follow Local Guidelines: Every state has its own disposal guideline for every type of waste. There might be one in your local community for disposing of water softener resins. Let them notify you about your possible water softener tank cleaning schedule and they will direct their assisting options that way.

Hazardous Water Softener Resin

Hazardous water softener resin
Hazardous water softener resin

Water softener resins don’t fall into the hazardous material category. But still, they don’t come that cleaner not to worry about. It depends on the water type it was used to filter. If the water softener tank was used for filtering heavy industrial water then you might need to consider the resins harmful. To dispose of such type-rated resins:

  1. Contact Local Authorities: Don’t try to dispose of hazardous water softener resin by yourself. Rather contact your local administrative authority and leave this matter at their disposal. They have trained manpower and materials to dispose of these resins safely.
  2. Professional Disposal: There is always various professional cleaning service or professional around us. You can contact any of them in your convenient way. They have linked up with various resources and using those, they will dispose of the water softener resin efficiently.
  3. Hazardous Waste Collection Campaign: There are various waste collection campaigns always happening around us by social communities. They have an intention to keep the neighborhood as much as clean. Avail one such support free of cost by registering for the campaign.

Is Water Softener Resin Recyclable?

Is water softener resin recyclable
Is water softener resin recyclable

The answer is NO! Usually, water softener resins aren’t recyclable. The materials found in resin (usually acrylic or polystyrene) can’t be processed by most recycling facilities. If you recycle something without knowing if it can be recyclable is called wish cycling. It can bring both positive and negative feedback on the recycled product. If the resin beads are not recyclable, it can make the overall recycling process and the recycled product contaminated. It will not only hamper the potential user but also nature. That’s why it will be wiser to contact the manufacturer with the query if their resin bred is compatible with recycling.

Is Water Softener Resin Bad For The Environment?

In most cases, water-softener resin doesn’t do any harm to the environment if disposed of properly. Most resin for water softeners is made from polystyrene, which consists of styrene. Styrene is usually extracted from petroleum or natural gas. When these compounds react, they form polypropylene in a process called polymerization. The resulting product is the material used in water softener resin. The wet sand-like residue you salvaged from the water tank likely doesn’t have any dangerous material other than some sodium and chloride version of it. Now, the presence of these chemicals in nature is no surprise. But excessive amounts of chlorine can leave a negative impact on the fishery organisms and their surrounding environments. Other than that, well-disposed water softener resin isn’t a threat to the environment.


1. How not to dispose of water-softening resin?

It is a very good question to ask. Resins usually don’t do any harm to nature or humans but it doesn’t mean you can throw them here and there. Also, dumping them in the drain or washroom commode can result clogging in the water line.

2. Can you reuse water softener resin?

You can’t certainly reuse a water softener resin. They were not made that way. The base reason lies in their capacity of attracting positive ionized calcium and magnesium ions from water. They fill the resin bead with them and sodium chloride is put to bend them away. Over time, the resin bead loses all its negative ion capacity and becomes inefficient and useless.

3. Can resin be biodegradable?

Resin is only biodegradable if it is produced from organic materials. Resins like eco-resin, silicone resin, and epoxy resin are biodegradable. Whereas, resins like polyester/fiberglass resin, polyurethane resin, and thermoset resins are not biodegradable.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, water softener resins are a great addition to make your daily use of water from heavy to edible. It does it by playing with positive and negative ionized particles. The filter has multiple negative ion-charged resin beads. Each of the beads has countless positively charged sodium ions which get replaced by the positively charged calcium and magnesium molecules of water. This process goes on until the resin bead comes to the position of disposal. These are usually harmless resins and by following some methods you can remove these resins from the water tank. And eventually, dispose of them in your convenient way.


Todd Smith is a trained ecologist with five years of experience in environmental conservation and sustainability. He has a deep passion for promoting sustainable practices and has developed a thorough understanding of the natural world and its complex interconnections.

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