Everything You Need To Know About Recycling Printer Cartridges

Everything You Need To Know About Recycling Printer Cartridges

As we embark on the 25th National Recycling Week (Monday 9 to Sunday 15 November), now is a great time to reflect on how we can improve our recycling habits. Whether this be at home or at work, we can encourage those around us to do just the same to help create a sustainable future and a cleaner planet. Whilst most of us are familiar with recycling paper, glass, and plastic, how many of us are aware that printer cartridges can be recycled? Here at Cartridge World, we have been championing the recycling cause for more than 20 years and working to keep printer cartridges out of landfill. Read on to find out how and why you should join the cartridge recycling revolution.

Take the Cartridge Recycling Quiz to get surprised by some eye-opening facts.

Why should I recycle cartridges?

Every minute, 34 printer cartridges are sent to landfill sites around Australia, which adds up to approximately 18 million per year. By choosing to recycle your printer cartridges you are helping to reduce air and water pollution associated with landfill and incineration. You will also be conserving natural resources used to create new cartridges which in turn can help save the energy used to manufacture new cartridges, thus reducing your carbon footprint.

Rather than creating millions of tonnes of non-biodegradable waste sitting idle in landfill for 500-1000 years, each component of a printer cartridge can be re-purposed into new products so there really is no excuse for wasting such a valuable resource. The benefits are not solely environmental either. Buying remanufactured or refilling printer cartridges can bring significant cost savings to you as an individual or as a business.

What should I do with empty printer cartridges?

Did you know that the majority of printer cartridges can be refilled 5-7 times before they reach the end of their life span? So, even before you look to recycling, you can be doing your bit for the environment by opting to refill your printer cartridges rather than throwing them away once they are empty. You can get expert advice from your local Cartridge Store on the options available based on the type of printer cartridge you use. We are always happy to assist.

What happens to a cartridge when it gets recycled?

Cartridges are broken down into various parts - steel, aluminium, clean and contaminated plastic, residual toner, and ink during the recycling process. Steel components are re-used to manufacture appliances such as fridges and washing machines, whilst aluminium is used to make cans for food and drinks.

Clean plastics are turned into items such as pens which is where residual ink can also be re-purposed. Residual toner is mixed with asphalt, recycled glass, and plastic to produce high-quality road and paving surfaces.

Any contaminated plastic and remaining parts are crushed and processed into ‘eWood’ a synthetic timber material that can be used to make fences and furniture items. You are probably already utilising items in your day to day life which started life out as a printer cartridge – pretty amazing really when you think about it.

Take the Cartridge Recycling Quiz to get surprised by some eye-opening facts.

Where can I recycle cartridges?

Cartridge World has partnered with Planet Ark, Australia’s most trusted environmental organisation and Close the Loop, an international company with headquarters in Australia, recognised as the global leader in imaging consumables takeback programs.

Through the ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’ program, used printer cartridges can be taken to any of the 130+ Cartridge World locations across the country where they will be made ready for collection, and taken to specialised recycling plants for dismantling and re-use - it really is as simple as that.

Under the new partnership, Cartridge World will take full responsibility for the product stewardship of their printer cartridges by paying for the recycling of all Cartridge World branded cartridges. This commitment demonstrates how Cartridge World is leading the way to promote environmental sustainability whilst educating customers on the importance of cartridge recycling.


There is no doubt that as individuals we need to take responsibility for the impact we have upon the environment. With programs in place to promote the recycling of printer cartridges and consumables, supported by the key industry players making it easy, there is no better time than now to try it out.