Toner cartridge recycling has been a work in progress for years. It began as a “drill and fill” program, which consisted of companies taking used cartridges, including HP Q5942x toner, drilling a hole in them and refilling them with toner. Though it may have seemed like a simple solution at the time, it turned into a problem when lack of concern for the quality of the cartridge began causing leaks and ultimately printer damage. This method gave toner recycling a bad name, and it was back to square one.
Millions of toner cartridges are wasted every year and have aided in the overflow of garbage on the landfills. Experts say it could take up to 1,000 years to decompose a single cartridge. Toner cartridges are made up of 40% plastic, 40% metal, 20% foam, paper rubber and toner. It also takes about 3 quarts of oil to produce one from scratch. With up to 97% of a cartridge considered recyclable, it is hard to understand why so many are just thrown away.
The new recycling process is much safer and cost effective. Used Brother TN210M toner cartridges, for example, are disassembled and any worn parts in it are replaced. The inside of the cartridge is thoroughly cleaned and new quality toner is added to it. It is then put back together and packaged for resale. Remanufactured toner cartridges cost 30-50% less than new ones because no raw materials are required. At the most, a single cartridge can be reused up to 4 times, so in theory, recycling one cartridge could potentially prevent four others from being wasted.
Some manufacturers express concern for the quality of remanufactured toner cartridges and often threaten to void warranties on printers if OEM toner is not used. However, it is against the law for any manufacturer to actually void your warranty, so don’t let them bully you. In actuality, recycled and remanufactured Canon PGI-35 ink cartridges, for example, produce the same quality and maintain the same capacity as OEM products, and fit nicely into the budget.