July 6, 2016
In the UK, millions of ink and laser cartridges are used every year and most end up being discarded with household or office rubbish once they’re spent.
Between 60% and 80% of the UK’s empty cartridges end up in a landfill site rather than a recycling plant. This is bad news for the environment as some of the components of ink cartridges take between 500 and 1,000 years to decompose. Even worse is the fact that many of the compounds used in ink and laser toner are toxic to wildlife and plants, so not recycling used cartridges is a double whammy for the planet.
Most people, before throwing away an empty ink cartridge, make a note of the code number that is the ID for the make and type, before ordering a new batch online from planetgreencartridges.com or going into a store. That’s fine, but it’s the throwing away that’s the problem, as many suppliers and retailers will buy empty cartridges, or knock off a percentage of the price of the new ones in exchange for the old. In our present economic climate, any discount or reduction is more than welcome!
Ink cartridges are made mainly from plastic, which, as mentioned previously, takes hundreds of years to decompose in landfill. Think about it, all those centuries of waste when all you needed to do was to recycle them instead. Most local authorities have a cartridge recycling scheme, or you could sell them back to the supplier.
We often think of landfill as just a rubbish dump – it doesn’t cost anything to maintain – things just go there to be forgotten. This is quite wrong, as landfill sites have to be maintained to keep them, and the people who work in them, safe. Anything you can do to reduce the amount of material ending up there helps to reduce council tax bills.
Producing a new inkjet cartridge uses around 3.5oz of oil and the other raw materials that go into the production of a cartridge total around 3lbs, so every time a cartridge is recycled, it saves this amount of raw material – quite a lot!
Sadly, even with recycling options on offer in the UK, around 300 million empty cartridges are thrown away, leading to around 75,000 tons of landfill – remember – they’ll stay there for up to 1,000 years.
As most local authorities have their own cartridge recycling scheme, all you need to do is to contact your council to find out how to join yours. There are also many businesses that specialize in selling recycled and remanufactured cartridges, so you could sell your empties, or return them to Planet Green Recycle! Don’t be afraid to ask – we are as committed to helping the environment as you are.