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Ink and Toner Cartridge Recycling Guide

January 20th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Going Green, Saving Energy, Saving the Planet, Renewable energy and Recycling; these are words heard daily on the television, radio, Social Media and read in newspapers. When people think of recycling, the first thing that usually comes to mind is paper, aluminum cans and plastic bottles; using wind or water for energy.

Two common items used daily are Inkjet Cartridges and Laser Toner Cartridges–these are easily recycled, but often NOT recycled. Each year over 300 million Ink and Toner Cartridges are thrown away and end up in landfills, this amount is equal to the weight of about 67,600 SUV’s. That is an unacceptable number! But, it gets worse–the average Toner Cartridge takes approximately 500 years to decompose. And, it takes up to three quarts of oil to produce the average laser toner cartridge and 2.5 ounces to produce the average inkjet cartridge.

A few more facts to ponder:

  • On average, toner cartridges weigh an estimated 2.5 pounds and each new toner cartridge requires half a gallon of oil to make new plastic. One remanufactured cartridge keeps 2.5 pounds of metal and plastic out of the landfill and saves a half gallon of oil.
  • The average laser cartridge will add 2.75 pounds of plastic and metals to landfills.
  • Using recycled cartridges to make new cartridges (i.e., remanufactured cartridges) reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 89%.

If a concerted effort is made to recycle cartridges both at home and at the office, it would make a big difference for the environment.

It is as easy as searching Earth911.com for “Toner Cartridges” or “Inkjet Cartridges” and your ZIP code. Empty Ink and Toner Cartridges can be brought in person to many different office supply stores, sometimes in exchange for deposits on new cartridges. There are also quite a few online businesses that accept empty cartridges. They usually send to you a pre-paid mailer in which to send the empty cartridges back and upon inspection, some businesses will even give cash!

Whether recycling the cartridges online, sending them back to the manufacturer or returning them in-store, make sure the instructions for returns are followed precisely. This ensures each party properly benefits from the return.

What to look out for when sending in empty cartridges? Here are a few points:

  • Meet the minimum cartridge requirements
  • Some businesses only accept ink cartridges
  • Some businesses only accept OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) cartridges

There is another way an impact can be made on the recycling front; as well as, keeping money in your wallet. That is to purchase remanufactured Laser Toners and Ink Cartridges, these cartridges are held to the same standards as the OEM cartridges, so compatibility is not an issue. A remanufactured cartridge can be up to 70% less expensive than the OEM cartridges. So, go green by simply purchasing remanufactured laser and inkjet cartridges. And, you’ll keep more green in your wallet!

Thanks to our friends over at InkPal.com for contributing to this posting!