Promote Sustainability With Printer Ink Cartridge Recycling

recycling used toner and ink
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Modern inkjet and toner cartridges are amazing pieces of technology when paired with the right printers. The printheads, ink and mapping software combine to precisely aim and place millions of color-matched dots onto a piece of paper in a matter of seconds.

Of course, that kind of technology comes at a cost. Despite efforts to implement recycling programs, it’s estimated that only 5% of plastic containers are recycled. Chances are, the recycled percentage of plastic-encased ink cartridges is even less. And that’s a problem, because it takes anywhere from 20 to 500 years for plastic waste to decompose, according to the United Nations

Are Ink Cartridges Recyclable?

Many printer manufacturers and local office supply stores have recycling options for all types of ink and toner cartridges. You can drop them off at a retailer, send them through the mail or work with a nonprofit that recycles cartridges. For large organizations, Managed Print Services (MPS) offer recycling programs and can schedule regular pickups for cartridges and other print-related waste. They may even offer recycling for outdated hardware like printers, copiers and multifunction devices.

RELATED : Go Green with Managed Print (infographic)

Here are the top three recycling options for most ink and toner cartridges.

1. Return Ink Cartridges to the Retailer

If you have one or just a handful of small printers purchased from a retailer like Office Depot, ask whether they offer a local recycling program and whether they have drop-off locations near where the toner is sold, or you can inquire through their website or customer service representative.

Much like recycling plastics at home, there’s usually no compensation or credit for turning in empty cartridges, but you’ll feel good knowing you’re doing your part to keep more plastic from clogging our landfills. 

2. Mail Empty Ink Cartridges

If you can’t return toner to the retailer you bought it from, there may be mail-in recycling options. Before throwing away the packaging, check for instructions and, in some cases, a mailable envelope for returns. If you lose the packaging or instructions, visit the manufacturer’s recycling web page and look for the "Recycle" option. For example, you can explore recycling options for cartridges from Canon’s website, as well as from Lexmark or Ricoh.

Depending on the type of cartridge, you may be asked to print your shipping labels or order materials to be sent to your home or business.

3. Toner Pick-up Services

For large enterprises and organizations, your Managed Print provider can recommend partnering with a suitable vendor and even help start the process. Once you’re connected with the appropriate vendor, you can request recycling kits consisting of special envelopes or cartons, free shipping labels, return instructions and more. When your package is ready, a pick-up is scheduled. A pallet pick-up can even be arranged for large quantities that cannot ship via traditional Fedex or UPS pick-up methods. 

An Easier Way: Managed Print Sustainability Initiatives

Organizations concerned with their carbon footprint and green initiatives don’t have to go it alone. A Managed Print provider like Gordon Flesch Company can help you implement an empty ink cartridge recycling program so you can do your part to keep millions of printer cartridges out of landfills. We offer recycling services for the following:

  • Canon
  • Ricoh
  • Lexmark
  • Sharp
  • HP ink cartridges (Hewlett Packard)

Implementing a Managed Print program can do more than save time, paper and printing costs; it can help save the environment, too. Learn more in our infographic below. To start realizing the benefits of reducing your carbon footprint, reach out for a free, no obligation consultation today.

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