Ink and toner cartridges are made from non-biodegradable plastics that can last up to a thousand years in landfills, polluting soil and water.
Every year more than 357 million cartridges are discarded which is roughly 8 cartridges every second, and less than 30% are recycled. Hopefully everyone who reads this blog, will understand what it takes to recycle their cartridges and we can increase that number.
How are ink and toner cartridges recycled?
Companies who recycle used or empty ink and toner cartridges have a complex process, but it is possible to recycle up to 97% of the components, positively impacting the environment.
The first step is based on the consumer delivering their used or empty ink cartridges to the company to separate the cartridge into its different components. These components can be reused for manufacturing other commonly used products. Below are some of the items that can be made from recycled cartridges:
- Steel: Fridges and washing machines
- Aluminum: Cans for food and drinks
- Plastics: Pens
- Contaminated plastics: Processed into 'eWood' (a synthetic timber material) used to make fences and furniture items.
- Residual Ink: Used to fill pens or to create recycled artist ink
- Residual Toner: Mixed with asphalt, recycled glass, and plastic to produce high-quality road and paving surfaces
By recycling used and empty ink and toner cartridges, we can conserve and reuse resources that would otherwise have ended up in landfills damaging our environment.
How to Recycle Used Ink and Toner Cartridges
Some companies are dedicated to collecting used cartridges as waste, such as empty toner cartridges or electronics like computers, monitors, printers, and other obsolete office equipment.
It is common for these companies to offer a free collection service, so if you cannot go to drop off your e-waste at their office, then they will pick it up for you.
They recycle materials, separate them, and sell them for parts to manufacturers, giving them a second life by turning them into other products.
Return the cartridges to the manufacturer
Most ink and toner manufacturers have a recycling program where they accept the return of cartridges once they have been used to give them a second life, using the components for manufacturing their own products. Below are links to the different recycling programs.
- Recycle HP ink and toner cartridges
- Recycle Epson ink and toner cartridges
- Recycle Canon ink and toner cartridges
- Recycle Brother ink and toner cartridges
Office supply retailers
Companies like Staples, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy also have recycling programs as part of their mission to go green.
Find out if your favorite retailer currently has a recycling program in place and if it accepts empty ink and toner cartridges.
Inside these stores, you find deposit boxes so that you can take your cartridges and deposit them during each visit to the store.
How to Recycle Unused Ink and Toner Cartridges for Cash
If you have any unused ink or toner cartridges that have not been opened yet, you can offer to sell them for money to companies with buyback programs like We Buy Toner.
Make sure that your ink or toner cartridge is in good physical condition. You will get extra money if you still have the original box and it is still sealed.
Identify the product number so that the buyback company can offer you a fair percentage according to the retail price.
We are glad that you have read this far to see how to dispose of your cartridges, especially how to recycle ink and toner cartridges properly.
At Ink Genie, we raise awareness about how to be environmentally responsible and avoid sending cartridges to the landfill. Be sure to pay it forward and create a positive chain of recycling for the earth.