Guide to Recyclables – Printer Cartridges

Why is recycling your printer cartridges worth the effort?…

  • The average laser printer cartridge can be remanufactured 3-4 times.  This keeps about keeps two pounds of waste out of landfills.
  • More than three quarts of oil are consumed in producing each new laser cartridge. For manufacturing a new inkjet cartridge, about three ounces of oil are required.  Recycling helps lower this cost to a considerable degree. An estimated quantity of over 11 million gallons of oil can be saved in only seven months by ink cartridge recycling.
  • Inkjet cartridges discarded in landfills leak into soil and waterways causing great harm to the environment and microbiotic life.  Carbon black (toner) has been classified as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
  • More than 350 million printer cartridges are discarded in landfills annually.
  • Nearly 70% of empty printer cartridges throughout the world are discarded.
  • The plastics used in printer cartridges are made of an engineering grade polymer that have a very slow decomposing rate ranging between 450 to 1000 years depending on the cartridge type.

Source:  Cartridge World , a global leader in selling eco-friendly ink and toner printer cartridges.

The list of reasons why it is important to  RECYCLE or REUSE your printer cartridges is lengthy.  The following details methods that you can responsibly deal with your used up printer cartridges.

  • RECYCLE them by sending them back to their manufacturers so that they can reuse them.  Many manufacturers provide pre-paid envelopes and/or mailing labels to return cartridges for recycling (particularly the case for laser printer cartridges).  Be sure to read and follow the return directions on the packaging.
  • Take the empties back to the store where you purchased them. Many stores that sell cartridges and toner participate in printer cartridge recycling programs.  They may also offer a discount towards the next purchase.  See (Staples, Office Max, Office Depot (BTW, Office Max and Office Depot are now one entity.  You have to sign up for their rewards program in order to participate in the recycling program).
  • REUSE them yourself (inkjet).  Some retailers, including Walgreens and Costco, will refill cartridges for you.  You can also buy do-it-yourself refill kits.  Just be aware that inkjet cartridges can typically be reused only a few times, not indefinitely.  However, once its life is up you should then be sure to RECYCLE it.
  • Collect  as a Fundraiser
    Many schools run a cartridge collection program as a fundraiser.  Ewing Township Schools collect ink  and toner cartridges for recycling as a fundraiser.   Funding Factory is a recycling program that turns e-waste into cash to fund schools and organizations pays CA$H for: cell phones,  inkjet and toner cartridges.  They also offer an upgrade for laptops, iPods® and tablets/eReaders/notebooks when turned in.  The following Ewing schools participate in the program:

    • Fisher Middle School
      There is a drop-off box in the main lobby and people can drop off items during school hours.  They can pull up to the back of the school, ring the bell, and let the office know they are dropping off ink cartridges to be recycled.
    • Lore Elementary School also collects
    • Ewing High School also collects
  • Recycle4Vets also collects ink cartridges to specifically benefit veterans.


One thought on “Guide to Recyclables – Printer Cartridges”

  1. Not only is there a monetary gain while recycling cartridges you also get to save the environment by reusing material that would have gone into the landfills. Apart from that the plastic you avoid adding to the already polluted environment will create a big difference.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: