This September, we’re joining in the celebrations for Recycle Week 2021. So, we thought now was the perfect time to take a closer look at how office equipment can help play a role in a better future. 

Let’s start with a simple scenario. Imagine you’ve entered into a new photocopier leasing contract. Everything goes great for a while, but you eventually start to notice that your printouts are looking a little faded. It’s a classic sign that your toner cartridge is reaching the end of its life. So what do you do? 

If you’re like most people, you’ll probably throw the old cartridge in the bin, and replace it with a new one. 85% of Brits throw toner cartridges away. But this can have a pretty big impact on the environment. 

The problem is that toner cartridges need to be strong and durable, so they’re often made from very robust plastics that can take up to 1000 years to fully decompose, adding to the UK’s landfill crisis.  

The good news is that there is a fantastic alternative: recycling your empty toner cartridges. 

How Are Printer Cartridges Recycled?

While cartridges aren’t accepted as part of standard household recycling schemes, more and more options are becoming available. You’ve probably already heard that most printer cartridges can be recycled, but you may not know what’s involved in the toner cartridge recycling process. 

Here’s what usually happens…

Step 1: Don’t throw your old cartridges away! Send your empties to a recycling centre where they can be processed. If you’re not sure where your local centre is, don’t worry – we can help. Pop them in the post to us, or have them ready for us to collect during your next maintenance visit, and we’ll sort it for you. 

Step 2: We send your empties to a specialist recycling centre right here in the UK that’s experienced in cartridge processing. At the centre, printer cartridges will be broken down into their individual components, with all materials separated into separate categories, and any residual toner removed.

Step 3: After sorting, many of the components will be broken down for recycling. The components used to make toner cartridges can be reused to make all sorts of recycled products. Plastics are often used to make ballpoint pens, while any metal elements can be used for car parts and even kitchen appliances. 

Step 4: Any very high quality components from the cartridge will be used to remanufacture cartridges themselves. This means that the existing cartridges simply have their critical elements replaced with OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts and can be refilled, print tested, and sent back out. 

Step 5: These recycled cartridges are reused in office printers, photocopiers for schools, home office equipment, and much more. Here at V-Technical, we use recycled toner cartridges in all our refurbished machines, so if you choose a refurbished model, you could find yourself reusing your old cartridges!

Step 6: The cycle starts all over again! Did you know that recycled cartridges can be sent back to the processing centre again for re-recycling? By doing this, we’re helping to keep toner cartridges out of landfill, reduce waste, and ensure they’re being reused to create more recycled products in the future. 

As leading providers of printer repair in Kent, we’re helping our customers across the south of England to utilise recycled products, and turn their office equipment into powerful green initiatives. In 12 months, we saved more than 10 tonnes of plastic from landfill by returning empty cartridges for reuse, and over the next 12 months we want to do even more.

Interested in helping us out? Stop binning those empties!