Even though the concept of the paperless office has been bandied about for almost as long as computers have been part of the working environment, it seems that we’re still nowhere near achieving it.
With the great volume of printing we undertake, a huge number of ink and toner cartridges are consumed. It’s estimated that 65 million are sold in the UK every year and that 85% of them are simply discarded or sent to landfill, meaning ink & toner cartridge recycling clearly still has some way to go.
Ink cartridge recycling is a far simpler process than most people may imagine and this brief guide, along with the video below, will tell you all you need to know.
The difference between inkjet and toner cartridges
There are two types of printers most commonly used today; the inkjet and the laser printer. These use different methods of printing and, therefore, have different kinds of cartridges, however it’s easy to recycle printer cartridges from both types of machine.
- Used in inkjet printers.
- Contain liquid ink generally absorbed in a sponge.
- Ink is deposited directly onto the page.
- Four different coloured cartridges combine to create full colour printing.
- Each cartridge prints, on average, 225 pages.
- Process to recycle inkjet cartridges generally involves separating metal components and shredding plastics to create new materials.
- Used in laser printers.
- Contain magnetically-charged coloured powder, often polyester-based.
- Powder is fused to laser paper by a heated drum to print desired image.
- Each toner cartridge will last for several thousand pages.
- Because of their more complex design than inkjet cartridges, toner recycling often involves re-using old toner cartridges and their components.
How to recycle ink cartridges
If your office has a mounting pile of ink cartridges and you don’t know what to do with them the FAQs below should answer most of the questions you might have.
Who can help when I need to recycle inkjet cartridges?
There are a wide number of companies that will collect empty inkjet and toner cartridges for you – simply search for them online. Alternatively, most council recycling centres have facilities for collecting empty cartridges.
Will recycling ink cartridges cost anything?
No. Most companies will take away your used cartridges for free – although you often need to have a minimum number before they will come to collect them.
Will I receive a waste transfer note?
Generally, most companies that recycle inkjet cartridges and toners will be happy to give you a waste transfer note to keep for your records.
Can I recycle ink cartridges for charity?
Yes. A number of recycling companies will make a donation to your specified good cause for each cartridge that you recycle with them.
So with the chance to de-clutter your office and be a little greener in the way you work, not to mention being able to help charity too, recycling your old printer cartridges is certainly a good, and simple, idea.
Want to top up your ink stock? Find the type to match your printer using our ink & toner finder.