Recycling Printer Cartridges

Why Recycle Printer Cartridges?

Some of the environmental benefits of recycling your cartridges include:

  • Diverting waste from landfill. Over 24 million cartridges have been diverted from landfill through ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’.
  • Recovering resources. By collecting cartridges and sending them for reprocessing or recycling we recover plastics, metals and inks that can then be used to make new products.
  • Saving water and energy. In most cases, making products from recycled materials uses less water and energy than making them from new materials. 
  • Reducing greenhouse gases. Based on a life cycle analysis of Close the Loop’s processes, the ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark' program has prevented over 110,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere.
What Happens to the Printer Cartridges when they are Recycled?

All of the printer cartridges put into a ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’ box are sent to Planet Ark’s recycling partner, Close the Loop®, in Melbourne. Once there, they are hand sorted and their brand and type recorded. Some of the laser cartridges are returned to the original equipment manufacturers for their own re-manufacturing and recovery programs. All of the remaining cartridges are processed through the Close the Loop® ‘Green Machine’.

  • Toner is used to make TonerPave™ road surfaces.
  • Inks are recycled and reused in low grade printing applications.
  • Clean plastic streams are reused in various applications or made into 90% recycled EnviroLiner felt tip pens.
  • Metals are extracted and made into new products.
  • All other materials and contaminated plastics are recycled into eWood™ – a timber-replacement product used to make items such as outdoor furniture, fencing and garden edging.
Close the Loop® is driven by a philosophy of zero waste.
Printer Cartridges - recycle
Did you know??

You can drop off your used Printer Cartridges at all of Council's offices including Cooma and Jindabyne Landfills or generally where you originally purchased the cartridge.
Close the Loop Materials Recovery Hierachy
Planet Ark Cartridges Box

REUSE
sees entire items or their component parts reused with minimal processing. Close the Loop is working with manufacturers to help them design products that can easily be reused.

CLOSED MATERIAL LOOPS are where a raw material used to produce a product is collected at end of life and recovered for reuse in the next generation of the same product. In other words, printer cartridges are recycled into new printer cartridges. 

This is another area where Close the Loop helps manufacturers design products that allow materials to be more easily recovered so we can recycle printer cartridges back into the same type of product.

ENGINEERED PRODUCTS
are higher-value products made from recycled materials. Close the Loop pens, rulers and flexographic ink are good examples. Recycling ink cartridges into different products doesn’t create a closed loop on its own. However, these pens and rulers are fully recyclable through their collection system, creating a new closed loop of their own.

COMMODITY LOOPS aren’t closed at a product level, but at a commodity level. They see valuable materials recovered and used again and again for a variety of uses. Metal and glass recycling are major types of commodity loops.

EWOOD
is a wood substitute made from contaminated mixed plastics, mostly recovered from recycling toner cartridges. Materials are diverted from their original use and the mixed nature of the plastic reduces its economic value. However eWood is a durable product with its own appeal. As well as keeping waste out of landfill, it sees recycled products helping to save forests from harvesting.

WASTE TO ENERGY applies to the smallest fraction arising from our materials recovery process. There are just some contaminated parts of a product that cannot be reclaimed, these are the fractions that are sent to W2E (Waste to Energy). Although some materials are lost from future use, Close the Loop manage to recover some of the energy that went into their production. It is worth understanding that W2E is achieved through the use of Cement Kilns where no residual is created unlike a High Temperature Incinerator which still requires the burnt materials or ash to be sent to landfill.  W2E is a last resort solution for Close the Loop to ensure our brand promise of Zero Waste to Landfill is upheld.

Check out the most recent Resource Recovery Certificate (79.2KB) from Close the Loop® for the total of Recycled items collected from the Jindabyne Landfill between January 2015 and March 2015. These recycled items were successfully diverted from landfill.


If you would like to know more, check out Cartridges 4 Planet Ark web site www.cartridges.planetark.org