Across the UK, it is safe to say that the vast majority of businesses have at least one printer that they use either in their offices or from home. Depending on the number of printers they have and the usage, the business will probably use many different types of ink cartridges, including inkjets, deskjets, toners or lasers.
If these cartridges are not recycled, then they will end up in our landfill sites and can leak their ink into the surrounding areas. Added to this, due to the engineered make-up of them, it has been estimated the typical ink cartridge will take between 500 – 1000 years to decompose – a truly shocking statistic! Even more shocking is that of all of the ink cartridges in landfill across the UK at the moment, around 90% of them could have been recycled.
As many small businesses will testify to, purchasing ink cartridges can be expensive. By using ink cartridges that have been recycled – or remanufactured – the cost of purchasing them can be reduced significantly. And those ink cartridges that have been recycled can be reused time and time again, with the majority being able to be reused up to seven times.
So why should we recycle the ink cartridges that we use in our businesses? Why shouldn’t we just put them in the bin when they’re empty? Well, by recycling them it reduces the number of natural resources that go into making original and new ink cartridges. It also saves energy – the fewer ink cartridges that need to be produced, the less energy that needs to be used to make them. And it helps us to help future generations. Who can know what the world may be like in 500 or 1000 years’ time? But I think we can safely say that a world with as few empty and not-yet decomposed ink cartridges which were dumped in the year 2018 would only be a benefit.
An issue that has been raised when using recycled ink cartridges is their reliability. There is some stigma around whether the recycled and remanufactured cartridges will be of poorer quality than a brand new one, and this may well have been the case in the early days of ink cartridge recycling. However nowadays the overwhelming majority of companies who remanufacture ink cartridges do so using the highest quality ink which means that many businesses wouldn’t even know they were using recycled ink cartridges. Does your ink cartridge supplier offer refills?
The process to recycle an ink cartridge includes firstly fully cleaning it, and then recalibrating or replacing the microchips inside it, refilling it using high-quality ink, and finally ensuring it is compatible with the printers it needs to be before it is then sent for re-sale. The process has evolved hugely over the last 30 years and uses the latest technology to ensure that purchasing a recycled ink cartridge has no downsides.
Many charities in the UK now offer an ink cartridge recycling scheme affiliated to a remanufacturing company including the RSPB. You send your empty and used ink cartridges into the charity itself or the recycling company, provide some basic details, and once the ink cartridge has been recycled and can be reused, the charity is given a donation as a result. These schemes have proven to be very popular, especially for businesses as a way to provide an incentive for their staff to recycle their ink cartridges rather than throw them away. So why not find a charity scheme that fits with your companies ethos and set up an ink cartridge recycling box today?