Printer Cartridge Recycling
Loran Simon   
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Printer Cartridge RecyclingHave you ever wondered what happens to all the stuff we use and then throw away? And what about all the new things we use every day, where does it all come from? The fact is that most of the stuff we throw away goes into landfills. And the materials needed to make the new things are not limitless. This process is unsustainable. The rubbish pollutes the land and water, and our natural resources can run out. But can we really switch to a sustainable system?

Yes we can. But we must all change. Businesses, people, and government alike. New legislation around the world is forcing businesses to make products that can be reused or re-manufactured. And of course we have to do our part by recycling the products so they don't end up in the bin. Printer cartridges are a great example of this process and how it can work.

Traditionally cartridge manufacturers wanted you to buy just new cartridges, after all this was what they sold, and it was where they made their money. Some manufacturers started to fit chips on the cartridges so you would be forced to always use one of their new cartridges.

This is now changing. Hewlett Packard currently uses new and recycled parts in their new cartridges. Lexmark have a special line of re-manufactured cartridges you can use as a part of their collection program. And IBM even has a range of re-manufactured cartridges specially made for Hewlett Packard laser printers.

Printer cartridges are a great product to reuse and recycle. Re-manufacturers are able to reuse the empty cartridge and produce a new high quality cartridge. Standards are getting so high that some of these cartridges are winning print quality awards.

Unfortunately the majority of used cartridges still end up in landfills, literally millions in countries all over the world. However cartridge recycling has never been easier, many companies offer free recycling services for empty laser and ink cartridges. Some even plant a tree for every box of cartridges you recycle! The services are there, people and companies just need to start using them.

Cartridge recycling enables new high quality cartridges to be produced from the empty ones. This uses up to 80% less energy and about 50% less oil. Any empty cartridges or parts that cannot be reused are broken down to their raw materials and recycled.

Another alternative for ink cartridges is to reuse them yourself. This can be achieved with special refill kits. They work by enabling you to inject new ink into the old cartridges. Whilst this can offer significant savings, it is not for everyone.

Whatever you do, use a free cartridge recycling service or check with the cartridge manufacturer what recycling program they operate. And try some of the new high quality re-manufactured cartridges available, some brands are very good.

Loran Simon is a founding member of iTreecycle. iTreecycle is about 'completing the cycle'. Using environmental alternatives, recycling, and putting something back. In this case a tree. iTreecycle

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