How to Recycle Photocopier Toner Cartridges

If not properly disposed of, photocopier toner cartridges can be a threat to the environment. Photocopier toner cartridges are made with a polymer that has a very slow rate of decomposition. In fact, many cartridge decomposition rates average between 450 to 100 years. Landfills can't handle the more than 375 million cartridges disposed of yearly in the Unites States alone. By recycling your used copier toner cartridges, you can help avoid the unnecessary effects on the environment. Many toner manufacturers now have in-house recycling programs designed to make it easier for customers to recycle their cartridges. The following tips can allow you to effectively recycle your used photocopier toner cartridges.


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    Look for recycling instructions in the packaging that comes with your photocopier toner cartridge. Many manufacturers, such as Hewlett Packard, include a mailing label within the package that will allow you to mail the used cartridge back to them.
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    Contact the manufacturer of your toner cartridge. Call the company or look at the manufacturer's website to obtain information on how to send the used cartridge back to the company for recycling. Some companies have instructions on their websites that may include obtaining the serial number on your copy machine. Canon, for example, will ask for the copy machine serial number and then provide you with instructions on how to print out a UPS label. Other options include receiving bulk packaging for multiple cartridges to be returned.
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    Contact office supply stores in your area. Many stores have recycling programs that allow you to drop off the toner cartridges locally.
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    Check local schools or businesses. Many organizations have fundraisers that involve recycling of copier toner cartridges. By dropping off the cartridges, you will help to raise money for the organization and protect the environment.
    • Start your own fundraising program if there isn't one in your area. Speak to your local elementary or high school about utilizing a fundraising recycling program for toner cartridges. Several online sites, such as Recycle Place and Funding Factory, offer free fundraising tools to help get you started. You can register your school or organization, then set up drop-off areas for businesses and individuals to recycle. Most programs will provide bulk mail boxes for the return of the used cartridges, and send a check to your organization or school.
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    Contact your city or county Office of Public Works or Solid Waste Services. These agencies can instruct you on where to recycle toner and ink cartridges in your municipality. You may be asked for the serial number of your toner cartridge so they can determine the type of cartridge that is being recycled. Certain cities also have designated recycling centers for solid waste. is an online resource that offers information on recycling toner and ink cartridges, and has a search engine for recycling centers by community.

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Categories: Reduce Recycle and Reuse