The Reasons You Should Recycle Ink Cartridges

The Reasons You Should Recycle Ink Cartridges

, by Planet Green, 4 min reading time

The significance of recycling has grown immensely in recent times, yet regrettably, a substantial number of individuals still fall short of actively participating in recycling efforts. Recent statistics indicate that only 5% to 6% of the 46 million tons of plastic waste generated annually in the U.S. gets recycled, a big dip from the last estimate of nearly 9% just a few years ago, according to a new study by two environmental groups focused on creating awareness around plastic pollution.

A substantial part of this challenge arises from the fact that many people remain unaware of which items can be recycled, with printer cartridges serving as a prime example.

Consider, for a moment, the frequency with which you contemplate the act of printing. Typically, you press a button, obtain your document, and continue with your tasks until the ink runs dry, necessitating a cartridge replacement. This convenience often diverts our attention to more seemingly pressing matters. But have you ever wondered what happens to the discarded cartridges? Do they end up in general waste, or are they given a second life through recycling?

In 2017, a staggering 99.95 million units of hardcopy peripherals, encompassing printers and copiers, were shipped worldwide. This equates to a substantial volume of cartridges that may find their way into landfills if not disposed of properly. In the US alone, an estimated 375 million empty or used cartridges embark on this journey to landfills. To put this into perspective, those cartridges could cover the entire New England Patriots football pitch 150 times over, and still have piles in the parking lot.

Every year, millions of cartridges meet this unfortunate fate, yet they possess the potential for recycling. Some have already recognized this, with less that 30% of the world's cartridges being recycled, as noted by Evolve Recycling. We can collectively strive for better. Here are some of the reasons why consumers should be more conscientious about how they handle ink cartridges.

  • Environmental Impact: It is essential to note that empty ink cartridges can take up to 1,000 years to fully break down. Recycling your cartridges can significantly mitigate air and water pollution, as it diminishes the need for manufacturing new cartridges and conserves energy. As global environmental awareness grows, making this small change can yield substantial benefits, let alone the environmental harm caused by toxins leeching into the earth.
  • Reduced Waste: Surprisingly, your printer may not be entirely out of ink when it prompts cartridge replacement. For instance, if you employ a tri-color cartridge, the depletion of one color does not signify exhaustion of all colors. Nevertheless, replacing the entire cartridge becomes necessary. What happens to the remaining colors? By recycling your cartridges, the residual ink within them can either be utilized or disposed of appropriately, minimizing waste.
  • Economic Advantages: Decreasing the volume of waste entering landfills has a positive economic impact. Recycling proves to be a cost-effective waste management approach compared to handling general waste. Moreover, governments often grapple with stringent emission reduction targets and aim to avert punitive measures for non-compliance.

Engaging in cartridge recycling is a straightforward process:

  • Collect all your empty cartridges in a designated container.
  • Access your preferred recycling program, like, who offers a free shipping label to send in your empty OEM ink cartridges.
  • Use the benefits of Planet Green Recycle to raise funds for your organization, as you get paid for every cartridge you send in, and every cartridge sent in on your behalf from your organization’s supporters.

When you find yourself replacing printer cartridges, ponder the fate of that small plastic component. Will you contribute to its recycling, granting it a renewed purpose and aiding the environment? Or will you consign it to a landfill, where it may linger for a millennium, slowly polluting the earth?

In light of these considerations, it is evident that cartridge recycling has never been more crucial. The reasons to recycle cartridges are compelling, and the steps to do so are readily accessible through the provided guidance.

Learn more here: Recycle with Planet Green Recycle


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