Each year over 375 million empty ink and toner cartridges are thrown away with most ending up in landfills or in incinerators. To put this in perspective the 375 million cartridges per year amount to disposal of:
– 1,000,000 cartridges per day
– 11 cartridges per second.
– 375 million cartridges put end-to-end would circle the earth over three times.
This mountain of waste can be reduced through reuse and recycling. Yet approximately 70% of all ink cartridges and 50% of all toner cartridges are still not recycled. 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. Ink cartridges may also leak printer ink polluting the surrounding environment.
Disposing ink cartridges into garbage can cause great harm to environment and miniature life. Most importantly, carbon black (toner) has been classified as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
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.
By recycling printer cartridges, we conserve natural resources and energy by reducing the need for virgin materials. Up to 97 percent of the materials that make up a printer cartridge can be recycled or reused if taken care of. Printer cartridges can in extreme cases be refilled up to 15 times before reaching the end of their life most though averaging between 5-7 refills. For reused/re-manufacturing cartridges the oil consumption is reduced to zero.