How to dispose of and recycle Inkjet cartridges

If you have a printer in your workplace or at home, it will use inkjet cartridges to print pages for you. These cartridges are known to be quite expensive, and they are also made up of a lot of plastic and other materials which can make recycling difficult. If you use a lot of inkjet cartridges at work or at home, here is everything you need to know about disposing of them in a safe way.

How to dispose of and recycle Inkjet cartridges

Who invented the inkjet cartridge?

The inkjet cartridge uses the continuous inkjet method to spray ink onto pages and was originally created by Lord Kelvin, and later used in commercial production by Siemens.

What are inkjet cartridges made from?

The inkjet cartridges are made out of plastic. Inside the cartridge is the ink, which is a liquid or paste that is coloured. The ink contains a number of varnishes, solvents, resins and additives which can be harmful if they leak.

How to dispose of ink cartridges

Because the ink cartridges are made up of harmful plastics that take thousands of years to decompose, ink cartridges should never be thrown in the bin. Moreover, even if the cartridge is empty, it may still contain potentially harmful ink which could leak into soil and damage plants and crops.

Alternatives to ink cartridge disposal

Because ink cartridges are not suitable for normal decomposition, many printing companies have taken it upon themselves to offer free recycling services, as almost 100% of the materials in a cartridge can be recycled. If you are looking to recycle ink cartridges, consider getting in touch with the manufacturer, office supply stores or government schemes that offer to take your used cartridges for free.

If you have found yourself with too many ink cartridges that haven’t been used, some companies will pay to take them off your hands.

What happens next?

Once the inkjet cartridges are sent off for recycling, they will be separated into different components and cleaned. The plastic and metal components will be divided into different components, melted and repurposed.

Why is recycling ink cartridges so important?

The inks that are present in ink and toner cartridges can be incredibly toxic to human, animal and plant health. Electronic waste is one of the most harmful forms of waste, and if left in landfill can leak harmful chemicals into the environment that could cause a number of health issues. Moreover, printer cartridges can take over 1,000 years to dispose, meaning that they can damage the environment long after you have used them.

Facts about ink cartridges

Around 1.1 billion ink cartridges are used every year.

In the UK, over 65 million ink cartridges are produced and sold each year.

Up to 3 pints of oil are used to create one ink cartridge.

Around 375 million ink cartridges are thrown away into landfills every year.

In the US alone, around 8 ink cartridges are thrown away each second.

Less than 30% of all ink cartridges are properly recycled in the world.

Where can you take these items to recycle/dispose of them for free?

There are many different ways to recycle ink cartridges. If you have bought your ink from a specific manufacturer, most of them now offer a free recycling service. To recycle these, you need to request a special box to put them in. Once you receive the box, place all of your used cartridges in it and post it back to the company for free.

In addition to manufacturing programmes, some companies also offer free recycling programmes and may also pay you if you have surplus cartridges that you haven’t used.

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of mailing your cartridges back, some office supply stores also recycle these cartridges.

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