The push for a more sustainable world has seeped into every imaginable industry, pushing company owners and consumers to use less energy, reduce waste, and recycle as many products as possible. Some companies have even set goals for recycling to urge consumers to maintain a greener planet. One popular office supply store in Canada reports that their recent recycling goals have surpassed their 2013 target. Another online store also claims to have eclipsed their previous year’s numbers, recycling more than three million ink and toner cartridges.
Ink and toner cartridge recycling has recently gained more attention, because of its ability to help reduce overall emissions. One study shows that by recycling more than two million pounds of empty cartridges, gas emissions that equal about 260 passenger cars can be eliminated. Several businesses have added drop-off services for this reason, urging customers to return their ink and toner cartridges after they have run out.
Some online retailers offer an incentive program to customers who send their empty cartridges back, giving them credits for any future purchases. Customers can download a pre-paid mailing label for their cartridge and send it back free of charge. These cartridges are either deconstructed and used for other office supplies, or are re-manufactured for use.
Recycling is an ongoing global effort, and was recently one of the main focuses of Earth Day. Many companies rolled out Earth Day programs to encourage consumers to recycle their electronics instead of throwing them away, which often leads to an excess of electronics in landfills. In fact, one study shows that 350 million empty ink cartridges are sent to landfills every year in North America alone.
Cartridge World, a company that dedicates its time to providing recycling solutions for homeowners and businesses, claims that two ounces of oil are saved every time an ink cartridge is recycled. They also assert that the average cartridge can be re-manufactured at least three or four times before becoming useless, and that two pounds of waste can be eliminated from landfills by re-manufacturing just one cartridge.
“Recycling ink and toner cartridges is something that all individuals and business owners should be doing,” explains Chris Kovacs, Account Manager at Absolute Toner. “It keeps them out of the landfills and puts them back to good use.”
To combat waste, schools and organizations are holding events in the coming weeks to collect cartridges and electronics. One school in Chicago is hosting an Electronics Recycling and Food Collection event in the next week to encourage staff, parents, and students to turn in their computers, ink and toner cartridges, cable receivers, and GPS devices, to name a few. Another high school in Illinois is following suit, and one organization in Australia is raising awareness about the 75% of ink cartridges that end up in the country’s landfills, asking consumers to return their used cartridges.
With these green initiatives in mind, retailers are increasingly placing their focus on reminding customers to recycle their electronics and cartridges. While this may not stomp out all the waste in the world, it does help to remove more harmful emissions from the Earth, and fosters a more sustainable way of living.