What percentage of ink and toner cartridges do you think are recycled in the UK? 80%? 70%? Maybe as low as 50%? You’d probably be disappointed if it was less than half, right? What if we told you that it was actually 15%? That’s right, just 15% of cartridges are recycled in the UK. With 65 million cartridges used annually, this means that over 55 million end up in landfill each year.
The plastic in a toner cartridge can take up to 1000 years to degrade and toner itself is considered hazardous waste, with black toner identified as a carcinogen. Not the sort of stuff you’d want to bury at the bottom of your garden – especially when you consider that a toner cartridge is 97% recyclable.
To put this in perspective, recycling 100,000 cartridges will save over 9.5 tonnes of aluminium, 40 tonnes of plastic and 1 million litres of oil (http://www.agreenerrefill.com/The-Benefits-of-Recycling). Recycling all 65 million toners used in the UK would save 6,175 tonnes of aluminium, 26,000 tonnes of plastic and 650 million litres of oil each year.
We all like to think that we’re socially responsible and environmentally aware so why do so few of us recycle our toners? In short, many people are simply unaware that their cartridges can be recycled, or they don’t know how to go about doing it.
The good news is that it’s surprisingly easy to recycle your used ink and toner cartridges and there are a number of options available to you. The first and, perhaps, most obvious way to recycle your cartridges is to send them back to the manufacturer. Each manufacturer has its own recycling scheme which allows you to return the cartridge free of charge. Follow the links below to find out how to return your cartridges for recycling:
Xerox Green Alliance recycling program
HP recycling program
Brother recycling programs
Canon cartridge recycling
Epson cartridge recycling
Kyocera cartridge return
Lexmark cartridge recycling
Oki cartridge recycling
Samsung STAR program
Konica Minolta Clean Planet program
Ricoh Toner Recycling
Although these recycling schemes are straightforward and free of charge, there is a cost to the manufacturer, so they will only recycle their own cartridges. There are alternatives if you wish to return cartridges from multiple manufacturers, or you are returning large numbers which would make posting them impractical.
A quick Google search will turn up plenty of organisations that will recycle your toners for you; most will collect the cartridges free of charge and some will pay you or make a charitable donation on your behalf. Our parent company, Danwood, operates its own cartridge recycling scheme which makes it incredibly easy to recycle all your printer consumables.
If you contact the Danwood Green Team on 0844 4810088 or firstname.lastname@example.org, they will send you a recycling box. Simply place all your used consumables (ink, toner, fusers etc) in the box and contact the Green Team when it’s full. Danwood will then collect the box and leave an empty one in its place. What could be easier?
Needless to say, we have a Danwood Green Team recycling box here in the Printware office. It’s a pretty good feeling, knowing we’re helping to save the planet by doing virtually nothing. There are no address labels to print, no boxes to pack and no trips to the Post Office, all of which reduces our environmental impact even further and saves us time.
So, if you want to help save the planet simply by walking across the office, give the Green Team a call and let them do all the hard work for you.
by Anthony Morgan