When cartridges are recycled, valuable materials such as metals, plastics and inks are recovered for reuse. Diverting cartridges from landfill also prevents potential contamination of the environment from chemical leaches.
When printer cartridges, print heads, toner bottles and drum units break apart in landfill, they can contaminate the groundwater, soil and environment.
Throwing cartridges into landfill also represents a waste of resources. Reusing or recycling cartridge components saves energy, water, materials and valuable landfill space.
Inkjet cartridges, toner cartridges and toner bottles can be recycled through the 'Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' program. Planet Ark is successfully working with Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, Konica Minolta and Kyocera to collectively take responsibility for the end life of their products. This includes cartridges used in printers, photocopiers and fax machines. Your workplace may be eligible for a free collection box if you recycle at least three cartridges month. Register now for free.
There are also options for refilling cartridges through commercial retailers (though only a certain number of re-fills are possible per cartridge) and other extended producer responsibility programs.
What Happens When It's Recycled?
The printer cartridges collected through 'Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' are sent to Close the Loop® for sorting and recycling. Many of the laser cartridges are sent back to the original manufacturers for re-manufacturing while the inkjet cartridges, toner bottles and drum units are processed into smaller parts. The metals are then extracted using magnets and clean plastics are collected. Recovered materials are then further refined before being used to make new products. Close the Loop® is able to achieve zero waste to landfill through their recycling process.
More Info & Sources
Planet Ark's Cartridge Recycling Factsheet (796kb pdf file)
Planet Ark's Product Stewardship Factsheet (844kb pdf file)
Printer Cartridges Signage - 'Do the Right Thing - Use the Right Bin' (1.14MB pdf file)