Today is March 18th, 2023. You probably know that. ... or perhaps you're from the future looking back and it's important for me to establish what day today is for me writing this post now. And why would that be important? Well, today is Global Recycling day! Started in 2018 by the Global Recycling Foundation, today is a day to highlight the importance of recycling as a way to minimize humanities carbon footprint on our planet and make certain we're all doing what we can to preserve our resources and keep our home healthy.
So that brings up a question we hear quite often:
"How do I recycle my used toner and ink cartridges?"
Great question, and as always, we're here to help!
First of all, why should you recycle your toner cartridge? Well, to start, approximate 1.3 billion inkjet cartridges end up in landfills every year. Yes, that's "billions" with a "B". And if that weren't staggering enough, each of those takes a minimum of 450 years to properly break down. Some of the industrial plastics components are even expected to take thousands of years to do so. That means every cartridge that gets thrown out is going to be sitting there for a very, very, very long time.
Part of our mission at Advanced Office is to limit our carbon footprint as much as we can by any means possible. So we are happy to partner with most of our manufacturers and provide several outlets based on product brand to allow you to recycle your empty toner cartridge at no cost to you.
So now you've sent your used cartridges off for recycling ... what happens to them now?
That's a great follow up question, because the whole point of this was to make sure they didn't get stuck in a landfill for a thousand years, right?!
For many of the inkjet and laserjet cartridges, they will be reused as many times as possible through remanufacturing methods. Cartridge that can easily be refilled will be and sent back into the workforce. Those that cannot be simply refilled will be broken down and components such as gears, housings and microchips will be salvaged and used in the creation of new cartridges and also find their way back into use.
For most toner cartridges, however, the size and makeup of them makes it very challenging to put these back into circulation. For those items, and the elements of the inkjet cartridge that could not be remanufactured, they will be broken down into their various components and reused in completely new ways. Plastics can be reformed into useful products like park benches, or even broken down to create new forms of eco-friendly asphalt for use in roads and highways. Some studies even indicate these new products can last as much as 65% longer than their forebears, improving the waste recycling even further than you imagined by giving us longer use out them in their second incarnations.
So next time you switch out a cartridge and continue that print job, make sure that empty isn't tossed into the trash. Get that used cartridge into the recycling process and back into use.