An estimated 375 million empty toner cartridges and ink cartridges are thrown into the trash annually in the U.S., roughly 11 cartridges every second. If you put all 375 million cartridges end to end, they would stretch around the world more than three times. Most of these printer cartridges end up on landfill sites. At about 3 pounds per toner cartridge, that’s an annual 562,500 tons of cartridges. Even worse, the plastics used in printer cartridges are usually an engineering-grade polymer that takes between 450 and 1,000 years to decompose, depending on the cartridge type. And then there’s the leftover ink inside the plastic cartridge, which can leak out over time and seep into groundwater, contaminating our drinking water.
The good news: This mountain of waste can be reduced through reuse and recycling.
By recycling printer cartridges, you conserve natural resources and energy. Consider just the oil involved. It takes 2.5 ounces of oil to manufacture a new inkjet cartridge, and more than a gallon of oil to manufacture a new toner cartridge. Most printer cartridges can be re-used between 5 and 7 times, and in extreme cases, up to 15 times, before reaching the end of their life. And while transporting empty cartridges does consume energy, the amount consumed is far less than what is used making a new cartridge.
The reduction of waste is just part of the many benefits of using remanufactured cartridges. 2-5 ounces of oil are used to manufacture an inkjet cartridge and over 1 gallon of oil is used to manufacture a toner cartridge. Although transporting empty cartridges does consume energy, it is far less than what is used to make a new cartridge.
Yet approximately 70 percent of all ink cartridges and 50 percent of all toner cartridges are still not recycled. By recycling printer cartridges, you can 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.
So do your part to save the world, one cartridge at a time. Sign up to recycle your printer cartridges with the Ink and Toner For Dummies program today!