Most people consider toner and ink cartridges to be “disposable”, and in a sense, they are. Once the ink is completely used up, the cartridges no longer serve and immediate purpose. However, consumers need to realize that throwing away your inkjet cartridges are not only bad for the environment, but could potentially save them money if they would just recycle.
Experts project that our landfills contain approximately 350 million cartridges, and rising. With the growth in demand for printers and ink, the amount of cartridges wasted per year is increasing almost 10% every single year. This number is frightening considering how much other waste is produced in the world. Our planet is wounded, and we keep adding salt.
They estimate that about 90% of the toner and ink cartridges that are purchased every year are thrown into the trash. Most of the time, there will still be some ink or toner inside of the cartridge when thrown away, and when dumped in a landfill, that liquid ink or powder toner finds its way out of the plastic container and into the soil, causing major issues under the surface.
There are some office supplies stores that offer in-store credits for the return of empty cartridges. Not only is there money to be made, but with an excess of remanufactured cartridges, the price of ink and toner will go down significantly. Many stores have drop-boxes conveniently located and open at all hours, and many more send shipping labels or refill kits to your home. The printing industry is making a conscious effort to make recycling as easy as possible, now we just need the people to bite.
Ink and toner cartridges can be refilled a few times before the quality of prints start to go down, but even after they cannot be used for printing purposes, the plastic can still be melted and used for something else, like part benches. There really is no reason to throw away something that could be beneficial to so many.