We go through over 65 million ink and toner cartridges every year in the UK and somewhere close to 55 million of these actually end up in landfill after they have run out.
There are plenty of ways to recycle your old print cartridges and some suppliers like https:// www.stinkyinkshop.co.uk even offer a free recycling service to their customers.
There is definitely greener thinking required when you consider the fact that barely 15% of ink and toner cartridges are recycled at the moment, so here is a look at what you can do to improve your green credentials, and put your old cartridges to a better use than taking up space in landfill site.
The case for recycling
The plastic used in toner cartridges can take as much as 1,000 years to degrade and if that is not bad enough, toner is considered hazardous waste with black toner identified as a carcinogen.
It is not like the cartridge does not lend it itself to being re-used, as it is almost 97% recyclable. Add in the fact that every 100,000 cartridges that are recycled and not sent to landfill, will save over 9.5 tonnes of aluminium, 40 tonnes of plastic and a not insignificant, 1 million litres of oil.
If everyone could be persuaded to recycle their print cartridges, their actions would save a staggering 650 million litres of oil each year, which should trigger a twinge of guilt in the environmentally conscious users amongst us, who current take the easy option and find the nearest bin for their old cartridge.
Options for recycling
There are a number of options available to you if you want to recycle your cartridges and you should be able to find and use a scheme or service that works for you.
Help a charity
There is an opportunity for you to help the environment and help raise money for a charity at the same time.
Recycle4charity accept hundreds of print cartridges and every suitable cartridge that is recycled, will raise £1 for your chosen charity or a suitable not for profit charitable organisation. There are numerous organisations offering to collect your toners and cartridges for free, who will make a charitable donation on your behalf and often collect your consumables from you free of charge.
Every print cartridge manufacturer has its own recycling scheme in place and as these are highly likely to allow you to send them back free of charge, it really is very simple to send the cartridge to meet its maker so to speak and start over again.
Print consumables supplier
You will also find that many responsible suppliers will encourage you to recycle your print cartridges through them.
Check with your supplier to see if they arrange a free collection or delivery service that you can use in order to get your cartridge back to them for recycling.
With barely 15% of the cartridges we use each year getting recycled, there is definitely room for improvement and some compelling reasons why we should think green when it comes to what we do with our old print cartridges.
By John Sollars
John started his printer cartridge supplier company in 2002 which is committed to paper recycling schemes. He enjoys sharing his printing insights online.