The Importance of Recycling Ink and Toner Cartridges

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Recycling grows in popularity every year as more people become aware of how seemingly minor actions can contribute to a healthier planet. From cans and bottles to paper and paint, more of our goods and packaging are designed to be reused, and more applications for recycled matter are being developed everyday. It’s even easier than ever to minimize your waste on the go, thanks in part to efforts made by local municipalities and environmentalists to provide public recycling bins and help get the word out on what can (and can’t) be reused.

According to A Greener Refill, upwards of 375 million cartridges are thrown away yearly, many of them winding up in landfills. For the sake of perspective, that’s more than a million cartridges daily or eleven cartridges each second. In the time it took me to confirm these numbers and type them out, somewhere between twenty and fifty cartridges hit the wastebasket.

Reusing these seemingly small items is incredibly important—-and can even put a little extra money in your pocket at the end of the day. More on that later. First, here are some reasons why it’s immensely beneficial have your ink and toner cartridges reused:

Reason #1: Save resources. A lot of inkjet cartridges fit in the palm of your hand and really don’t seem like they require a lot to make. But, because of what they are made of, the production of ink and toner vessels is actually fairly resource intensive. According to A Greener Refill, “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.” Over time, this amounts to a whole lot of black gold going from the ground straight into the trash every time you toss them in the trash. Recycling all inkjet and laser cartridges could conserve upwards of 11 million gallons of oil over a seven month period.

Reason #2: Prevent waste. It may come as no surprise that cartridges don’t compost well. Like most plastics, they will sit in a landfill for about a thousand years before decomposing back to their basic elements. When you think about 375 million of these guys piling up around the world annually—remember, eleven per second!—you start to gain perspective on the amount of unnecessary clutter that can be prevented by simply recycling and reusing cartridges.

Reason #3: Lower costs in the long run. Recycling cartridges not only cuts down on our environmental impact, it has economic benefits as well. Cartridges can be remanufactured by ink producers, a process that cuts down on the amount of manufacturing cost they need to undertake. This means lower prices for remanufactured ink products when you buy them at Eco Ink & Toner!

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