You already use recycled paper in your home office, and you also make sure that all the paper you use goes right back into the blue box. But are you also recycling the other supplies that your printer uses.
That is, are you doing any printer cartridge recycling? Just because your local recycling program doesn’t accept them is no excuse for letting these plastic monstrosities go into the landfill.
What’s great is that most major printer manufacturers are dedicated to helping the environment and will take back their brand of cartridge at no cost to you. The fact that they save quite a bit of money when they can reuse old cartridges doesn’t hurt either.
These companies all have their own procedures for having you get involved in printer cartridge recycling, and there shouldn’t be any charge or fee for you to do so. Sounds like a win-win situation for everyone. Do you have one of these cartridges:
Xerox – If you’re just sending back one, you can print out a pre-paid Purolator labels for your package. For bundles of 5 or more, they will send you a free package of Eco-Boxes to make your shipping easier.
Samsung – They suggest you use the box from your new cartridge to pack up the old one, and then use a label printed from their website to send it back. You will be shipping with either UPS or Fedex.
HP – There are authorized drop-off bins at most Staples office supply stores for HP brand cartridges. To send them back yourself, there are labels from their website or they will send you free boxes or envelopes to help with the packaging.
Brother – Use your own box or the box from a new Brother cartridge to send these back for recycling. There are labels available on their website, and you can just drop them in the mail for shipping.
Canon – You can use their shipping labels and send cartridges back through UPS. Each label can be used for packages with more than one cartridge but you can use them for individual ones if that’s all you have.
Other companies like Kyocera, Sharp, Dell and Lexmark also have similar programs in place for their cartridges. Of course, these companies may change their policies at any time so you should always double check with them before you start bundling up your empty goods.
Most of these places accept all kids of toner cartridges, including laser, inkjet or color models of printers. Check their sites for serial numbers if you’re not sure. But generally, any company will take back any of their own products.
You’ll notice that I’ve only mentioned brand-name printer cartridge recycling programs. Unfortunately, that is the only catch in this whole system. If you are using a generic or store-brand type of printer cartridge, you can’t participate in any of these recycling programs. It’s something to think about when you make your next toner purchase. You can stay green by buying refurbished cartridges, or even doing the refilling yourself when they finally empty out. Kits are easy to find and it’s not that hard to do.
So next time your printer comes up empty, take a few minutes to join a toner cartridge recycling program and do your part to keep these things out of your local landfill. As it stands now, more than 350 million cartridges end up in the garbage each year. Not only is all the plastic and metal of the cartridge thrown away, but the landfill becomes further contaminated by the remnants of ink or toner still in the device. Recycling is a much better alternative, so save yours up to send back.