Don't recycle ink cartridges!
Let me explain...
Printer cartridges consist of a complex mix of different plastics, various metals, residue ink or toner and other equally environment wrecking components.
So...I'm not suggesting that you dump empty ink or toner cartridges in any of your wheelie bins either. Please don't..!
Recycling printer cartridges (both ink and toner) is a great idea and all cartridges should be recycled - when their time is up.
BUT...recycling any complex product like ink or toner cartridges and turning them into new products is a pretty involved process that consumes heap of energy, wastes limited resources and creates pollution.
So...ink or toner cartridges should only be recycled at the end of their useful life.
Recycling ink or toner cartridges ahead of their time (just because they're empty) might be somewhat better for the environment than throwing them in the garbage, but is not ideal either and should be avoided just as much.
So, please consider some other, more enviro friendly alternatives FIRST, before deciding to recycle your ink or toner cartridges:
- Refill and reuse the cartridges or
- Get them professionally refilled or
- Donate them to a refiller/shop or
- List them on Gumtree or ... ???
Ok...you're not likely to get rich from selling your empties on ebay, but as long as they are genuine, it should be pretty easy to find some interest. There are companies that offer free pick up as well. Check on the net - if you have trouble finding somebody local.
Cartridge reconditioning and refilling businesses can't exist without ongoing supply of empty, genuine ink and toner cartridges and many struggle to keep up with demand.
This is mainly a result of cartridge recycling programs (financed by major printer companies) extracting perfectly sound, empty ink and toner cartridges from circulation as quickly as they can - for no other reason than to keep them out of circulation.
And...the ultimate result of this pointless excercise is the subsequent need to make more new genuine cartridges - to fill the gap. This might be beneficial to the printer companies, but unfortunate for the environment.
This is what your empty ink or toner cartridges turn into - during recycling:
... shredded ink and toner cartridges.
And this is what empty ink cartridges turn into - if they're refilled:
... full ink cartridges.
And this is what empty toner cartridges turn into - if they're remanufactured:
... full toner cartridges.
Makes sense ... doesn't it?
Every single ink or toner cartridge that is filled & reused (by you or someone else), saves having to build another cartridge to replace it...and that's something you can feel REALLY, REALLY good about!