Recycling It

It’s inevitable you’re going to need to replace your ink and toner cartridges during the lifetime of your home or office printer, but with the average household using 2-3 cartridges a year, what should be done with those empty cartridges? It’s no secret that modern society is viewed as a throwaway generation. Things are no longer built to last, but to serve a purpose efficiently, until it has been consumed, or its successor in technological advancement takes over. I think we can all hold our hands up and say that we don’t do as much as we could when it comes to our recycling responsibilities and a lot of it is down to being ignorant of the damage that we constantly inflict on our planet every second of every day.

Before you throw your old cartridge and all it’s packaging in the dustbin, take a look at some of the facts:

    • The manufacturing process for new each new cartridge requires almost a gallon of oil.


    • With every passing second, more than 13 printer cartridges are thrown away in the United States alone.


    • More than 1.2 billion inkjet cartridges are used annually around the world.


    • 70% of all printer cartridges used globally are currently thrown away, amounting to 840 million cartridges that are discarded annually. To give you a perspective on this scale, if the empty cartridges people throw away each year were stacked end-to-end, they would be able to circle the earth; a staggering 23,860 miles!


    • Stacking just 105 laser toner cartridges end to end would equal 95m, which is the height of the Statue of Liberty and more than double the height of Christ the Redeemer.


    • Each discarded empty laser printer cartridge adds approximately three pounds of waste to landfills and takes approximately 1,000 years to biodegrade.


Unless you change your disposal habits, these figures are only going to get larger, landfills will get fuller and oil reserves will get lower. In case you need any more convincing that throwing away your cartridges in a bad thing, we have one more fact to knock your socks off:

If everyone began recycling their ink and toner cartridges, we would save 400,000 tonnes of waste from landfill every year!

That’s not a figure to be sniffed at, but what can you do to stop your empty ink and toner cartridges from becoming landfill fodder?
Most charities now accept empty cartridges as forms of donation and they can even go towards helping schools purchase better equipment and facilities. Here are a few cartridge recycling options that we think are worth a look:
Sign up and The Recycling Factory will send you envelopes to pop your empty cartridges in and send back, free of charge. Once they have your cartridges, here’s where it gets interesting:
“By returning your empty inkjet cartridge, you can choose to collect 50 or 100 Green Clubcard Points, donate 50p/£1 to Diabetes UK or donate 50% of your points to Diabetes UK & have 50% credited to your account.”
Well, we certainly like the sound of recycling cartridges for free clubcard points!
If you’re the charitable type, Recycle 4 Charity enables you to make donations as you recycle. They send out free freepost bags that can hold up to 5 cartridges at a time:
“Each wanted cartridge that is recycled will raise £1 for your chosen charity or other not for profit organisation.”
So now not only are you saving your cartridges from landfill, but you’re raising money for charity organisations! If that’s not good karma, we don’t know what is.
What about raising money for schools? Empty Cartridge buys all your old toners and cartridges, you arrange for a collection and, once they have checked the recyclables, your money is then issued to your chosen school:
“Our aim is to help promote an eco – friendly school environment helping pupils, teachers and parents to…………….Reduce, Reuse & Recycle!”
Now here’s a company after our own hearts!



These examples are just the tip of the iceberg, so next time your printer needs an ink refill, take a moment to consider recycling options for your used cartridges. Whether you choose to recycle for charity, for local schools, or to save up some cheeky Tesco Clubcard points, you’re contributing towards the reduction the huge carbon footprint that is left by commercial and domestic printing every year.