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Used Ink and Toner Cartridges.

What Your Ink and Toner Cartridges Do After Dumped.

Printing has been made so easy today, almost as easy as making coffee. Whether it’s office work, school homework, cooking recipes, wishing cards or photos, you can print it by just pushing a few buttons. No wonder millions of ink and toner cartridges are sold every year. The good news is, because of this massive use, the prices of ink and toner cartridges for printer are becoming lower and lower, that makes them affordable to everyone. The bad news ? We forgot that ink and toner cartridges can be the most hazardous part in computing. Some cartridges might takes 1,000 years to decompose, while the left ink cause air pollution that triggers some symptoms and diseases. Yet, the number thrown to the landfill is incredible.

In 2008,  1.9 billion printer cartridges were used worldwide, that would measure 140,000 miles, or 5.5 times around the world when stacked end-to- end

The U.S. alone uses 700 million inkjet cartridge every year, Canada uses 60 million pieces, while the U.K. more than 30 million cartridges are dumped to landfill each year.

What Your Ink and Toner Cartridges Do After Dumped.

If you are one, like I was once before I write this article :) , who can easily buy a cartridge, print, print, print,  then simply dump it to landfill after use, here is what you should know what your used cartridge might do after that :

Threatening the human health .

  • A used cartridge still contains a some amount of ink / toner. When you throw those cartridges to the landfill, the chemicals of the ink can seep into the soil and go to the water way and eventually can be mixed into our drinking water. This is one way of poisoning our food chain.
  • Laser toners are filled with dry ink, powder-like carbon, that can easily disperse. Once the carbon escapes, it will pollute the air with harmful particles. Liquid ink might do the same when evaporate. So think a hundred times before you throw your used cartridge to the landfill. It might return to you by respiration!

Threatening the Earth :

Except the above hazardous left ink / toner, dumped cartridges contribute:

  • 0.5 kg. landfill waste from Laser toner which contains 0.48 kg metal plastic and metal waste, both are non-biodegradable substances.
  • 0.012kg waste from Inkjet cartridge.·

How to reduce used cartridge waste :

By 2012 500 million laser cartridges and 1.8 billion ink cartridges will be dumped in landfills , leaching toxic chemicals into their surroundings. Both kinds of ink cartridge and laser toner could take 450 to 1,000 years to decompose. Here is some small efforts we can do to avoid our planet becoming a hazardous landfill :

  • Efficient printing could make printer cartridge be used longer.
  • Buy refillable ink / toner cartridge, so you don’t need to buy a new cartridge each time the ink runs out. Production of one toner cartridge contributes approx. 4.8 kg. CO2. Here are selections of some refill ink /toner.
  • Choose re-manufactured printer cartridge. Manufactured cartridge is made from materials recycled from used cartridge. View here for some samples recommended re-manufactured ink cartridges and laser toner .
  • Recycle your printer cartridge when it finally gets worn. A used cartridge can be reused or re-manufactured between 3 to 7 times. Each cartridge re-manufactured or refilled will reduce 1 thrown to the landfill.

Printer Cartridge Recycle Centers :

EPSON world wide recycle program : Recycling for Printers, Scanners, Cartridges, Projectors, Computers and more. Just select the country :

Hewlett Packard ( HP ) Recycling Program :  this a Global recycling centers for HP products.  Select the country / region to learn more about their recycling program in your area.

DELL  Worldwide Recycle Program : Dell’s has launched a worldwide technology recycling options. Click your area to learn the recyling program they are offering for you.

LEXMARK : : Lexmark also offers global recycling program.

Canon :

Free Recycling ( USA ) :  Recycling both ink and toner cartridge. This organization will even buy your used ink cartridge. Just turn your trash into cash !

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Eco Friendly Computing