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The Environmental Impact Of Discarded Printer Ink Cartridges

2010-05-15

Every year, millions of empty printer ink cartridges that were used in printers, copiers, and fax machines get thrown in the trash, and become destined for the landfills. But have you ever considered the environmental impact of discarding plastic printer ink cartridges?

A source cites that 10% of the oil imported into the US comes in the form of plastics contained in printer carts. 90% of such oil returns to US grounds now in the form of a landfill. So how much oil is used? An estimate of about 2.5 ounces of oil is used to manufacture one piece of printer ink cartridge and over 3.5 quarts of oil to produce one piece of laser printer cartridge. Therefore, it is highly recommended to reuse cartridges in order to save oil and to reduce our dependency on the importation of foreign oil. Another concern is the energy consumed in cartridge production. The amount of energy used to convert the oil into plastic which becomes discarded into a landfill affects the atmosphere as well. A great amount of energy is required for these cartridges to get from our homes and offices to the landfills. It is also estimated that once a toner cartridge is discarded into a landfill, it will take up to 450 years for it to decompose. The environment suffers as a result.

Given these environmental issues, we must do our part to lessen the impact of discarded ink cartridges. Recycling empty cartridges, refilling them for use, and purchasing locally manufactured inkjet and toner cartridges are simple and easy ways for private and public institutions to reduce the environmental impact of discarded products, as well as saving on substantial tax money and giving a boost to the local economy.

Any type of office equipment that makes use of toner cartridges must be able to use remanufactured cartridges. An already used ink cartridge may be remanufactured up to four times. This can save up to three quarts of fuel! Remanufacturing ink cartridges will decrease the amount of plastic, aluminum, rubber, and steel that are sent to landfills and then burned in incinerators. It is not, however, recommended to refill toner cartridges more than two times as its parts eventually get worn out.

Search the internet for reputable recyclers who will even pay you for your used toner cartridges. Some companies will even donate a portion of their proceeds to charitable institutions and other worthy causes. And besides, ink cartridges can be very expensive. Therefore, it is very practical to recycle the products. This will help reduce the negative impact on the environment. And with more consumers and agencies becoming more environmentally aware, our list of recycling options is wider than ever.

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