What, Where & Why
Printer cartridges are made up of a complex combination of plastics, metals, foam, ink and toner. Throwing them into landfill represents a waste of resources and contributes to the growing problem of electronic waste. By recycling your cartridges you are helping to reduce this waste.
Some of the environmental benefits of recycling your cartridges include:
- Diverting waste from landfill. This is especially important since cartridges are one form of electronic waste, which is one of the fastest growing forms of waste. More than 3,440 kg of cartridges are diverted from landfill every day through the program.
- Recovering resources. By collecting cartridges and sending them for reprocessing or recycling we are able to recover materials like plastics, metals and inks that can then be used to make new products;
- Saving water and energy.Making most products from recycled materials uses less water and energy than making them from new materials.
Council recycling collections pick up and separate certain packaging types, such as glass bottles and jars, aluminium and steel cans, milk and juice cartons, etc. Each item collected allows for easy separation into basic material types.
In the case of cartridges and other more complex products, they are a complicated structure involving a number of different materials. These products have to be manually pulled apart before they can be separated into their component materials. Therefore they aren't suited to the collection systems and sorting facilities used by councils.
All inkjet cartridges, toner cartridges and toner bottles can be placed in the Cartridges 4 Planet Ark box.
Accepted items includes:
- Mixed cartridges
- Inkjet cartridges
- Laser cartridges
- Unused cartridges
- Toner bottles
- Fuser and drum units
- Print heads
- Waste hoppers / containers collectors & kits
All of the cartridges put in to one of our boxes, whether in a workplace or a retail collection point, are sent back to Close the Loop® in Melbourne. Once there, they are hand sorted and their brand and type recorded. Many of the laser cartridges are sent back to the original equipment manufacturers for their re-manufacturing or component recovery programs.
The inkjet cartridges, toner bottles and drum units are processed through the patented, Australian-made Green Machine, which reduces the cartridges to smaller particles that can be more easily separated.
Inkjet cartridges are processed through another machine, which also uses patented world-first technology.
Magnets are used to remove ferrous (iron-based) metals, while eddie currents are used to remove aluminium.
This waste stream is a complex mix of potentially valuable and/or hazardous raw materials needing state of the art equipment for safe processing and handling.
The end result of this process is the recovery of 'raw' materials. These 'secondary raw materials' are further filtered, upgraded and then used instead of virgin materials in normal manufacturing to make new products. The ultimate aim is to return the raw materials back to the original equipment manufacturer for reuse in new cartridges.
All of this is achieved with zero waste going to landfill.