Offices and commercial organizations generate a lot of waste. Much of this waste is recyclable, and some of that recyclable waste can actually generate cost-savings for businesses with an environmental mindset.
Printer cartridges are one of the worst offenders when it comes to recyclable office waste. Although laser toner cartridges are recyclable, 60% to 80% of used toner cartridges end up in landfills.
But the recyclability of toner is unique in the world of office equipment. When offices throw away laser toner cartridges, they are also throwing money away. This is because offices could be reusing and remanufacturing their own toner cartridges.
How Toner Recycling Differs from Overall Plastic Recycling
Usually, when plastic waste gets recycled, it ends up on route to a major plastic recycling refinery – usually overseas. The plastic items are reduced to their most basic state and then used to create new items from more pliable forms of plastic. Plastic water bottles, for instance, can become traffic cones or trash bags.
As a result, plastic bottle manufacturers still need to create new plastic bottles. The recycling process isn’t efficient enough to make new products out of old ones on a 1:1 scale. Paper recycling works in a similar way.
When it comes to toner recycling, though, the story is different. The remanufacturing process makes laser toner cartridges perfectly reusable. There is no need to melt down the products to their plastic constituents and find new products for them to become – they remain laser toner cartridges.
This works because of the way cartridges are designed. The laser toner cartridge itself is a receptacle for toner. If a remanufacturer rigorously cleans, dries, and refits the cartridge while replacing the toner inside, the end result is a usable laser toner cartridge created at a fraction of the cost the original manufacturer would charge for a new replacement.
It takes almost one gallon of oil to create a new laser toner cartridge. The remanufacturing processes vastly reduces the environmental footprint of creating toner cartridges and passes those savings on to the customer.
Toner Recycling: What Gets Reused
The word “remanufacturing” is often used to describe the process of recycling laser toner as different than plastic or paper recycling. This is because the process is fundamentally different – certain components are reused while others have to be replaced out of necessity.
For instance, one of the most obvious cartridge elements that must be replaced is the toner itself. Once a cartridge uses up all of its toner, no amount of recycling is going to produce new toner out of the plastic shell.
Other parts that may be replaced during the remanufacturing process include the microchip that detects cartridge toner levels. Some manufacturers don’t allow these chips to be manually reset. Sometimes, the drum unit and wiper blade must be replaced – these can get damaged after a full cartridge’s worth of usage.
There are three main areas where remanufacturing helps the environment and reduces the cost of new materials. The three components that all toner remanufacturing processes save are:
• Aluminum. Every remanufactured toner cartridge saves 96 grams of aluminum, on average.
• Plastic. Every 100,000 recycled printer cartridges will save 40 tons of plastic.
• Oil. Every recycled printer cartridge saves a gallon of oil.
Additionally, recycling print cartridges reduces the environmental impact of creating new cartridges. Every metric ton of new toner produced results in approximately 16 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Start Saving Money and Helping the Environment Today
In order for toner recycling to catch on and become an industry-wide norm, it has to present an economic advantage to offices that engage in it. At DSI, our mission to provide easy recycling options to all our customers and partners by offering toner pickup and shipping options.
A single conversation with one of our print efficiency experts can help you begin saving money and helping the environment by recycling your toner cartridges. We work with highly reputable, globally recognized toner remanufacturers to ensure that the resulting cartridges uphold the highest standards of quality while remaining cost-effective when compared to new cartridges.
This is how economic incentive plays its role in the decision-making process for small businesses and enterprises alike. Any business with the opportunity to invest in environmental initiatives that save money while improving print quality and efficiency will sign up for the service.
We have established the infrastructure organizations need to make the toner recycling process an easy choice. Stop throwing away print cartridges and start using top-quality remanufacturing ones that cost less, print better, and outperform the original manufacturer alternatives.
You can help the environment while saving money and improving print quality. Talk to a DSI print expert to find out how much remanufactured toner cartridges could save your office.