These days most homes in the western world have one or more personal computers. Of all these computers, about 90% are linked with a printer. An average household will use two to three ink cartridges per year. Not to mention offices will use insanely large numbers of cartridges. Once these cartridges are empty, what do you do with them?
Sad but true, only fifteen percent of all those empty cartridges are recycled. The rest – eighty-five percent – end up at landfill sites. This is bad for the environment, as the plastic used in a typical cartridge is made of a polymer that is expected to take up to one thousand years to decompose!
So why not recycle your ink cartridges? It takes very little effort in most cases. Especially since most of the companies that produce ink cartridges include instructions and packaging materials, such as free collection envelopes, to recycle the old cartridge.
How does it work? The old cartridge is collected, and then remanufactured and filled anew with ink. A used cartridge can be refilled up to six times and is guaranteed by the manufacturer to have the same qualities as a brand new one. A recycled ink cartridge will cost as little as 10% of the original piece.
To help you recycle, there are a number of organizations that can help you provide for a better environment:
Contact Laser-Tone International, for instance. They will pick up used printer and toner cartridges and reuse them. Afterwards, they will deliver them back to you for free.
Or you can get in touch with Eco-Office (www.eco-office.com). There you will be provided with a list of companies in your area that will purchase your old cartridge, as well as a list of companies that will provide remanufactured ones.
You could also call the International Cartridge Recycling Association for more information.
You can also donate your old cartridges for a good cause.
Recycling Appeal will collect printer cartridges (as well as mobile phones and PDA’s) for reuse and recycling. They raise funds for charity and help the environment at the same time. They have already generated millions for partner organizations (Oxfam, Breast Cancer Care, …) by now. They do this by offering free collection envelopes. You only have to pop your used items into a freepost envelope and put it in the post. You can call them or fill out on online form to get an envelope sent out to you. If you have large quantities which you like to donate, the Recycling Appeal will send a courier to come and fetch them from you free of charge.
Cartridges4Charity collects ink and toner cartridges, and toners in the UK and distributes the money between three charities: SeeAbility, CRUSE Scotland and Cardiac Risk In The Young. Help The Aged does the same, in helping elder people. Green Agenda handles used ink and toner cartridges for business, charities or educational establishments.
Go green and help the world. Don’t just throw away your empty cartridge.