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How Do I Recycle My Used Printer Cartridges?

Although increasingly handled by recycling centres, printer cartridges are not generally collected from the kerbside. Recycling printer cartridges can therefore seem a bit of a hassle.

But there are good reasons to recycle your used inkjet and laser (toner) cartridges.

  • Approximately three-and-a-half litres of oil are required to produce a new laser cartridge, about one litre for an inkjet cartridge.
  • The plastic used in printer cartridges may take as much as 1,000 years to decompose.
  • Over 30 million inkjet cartridges (about 1,800 tonnes) are dumped in the UK each year.

Recycling printer cartridges involves either recovering materials from the cartridges or remanufacturing them – essentially checking parts, replacing worn ones and refilling them with ink. About 20-30% of all printer cartridges sold worldwide are manufactured. Why not donate your used cartridges to a charity who make a bit of money reselling them to remanufacturers? The other organisations below which distribute funds to a charity of your choice have been checked and are linked to by their client charities.

Here is Paperstone’s list of charities and other organisations that will take used printer cartridges off your hands:

  • Oxfam will send out Freepost bags for you to post them your used cartridges. If you’ve got more than 40, they’ll arrange a free collection. (They can’t recycle Epsom and Canon cartridges). They also take old mobile phones.
  • Help The Aged also make it easy to recycle inkjet and toner cartridges with Freepost envelopes or free collection over a certain amount. You can also drop cartridges off in one of their high street shops.
  • The British Red Cross get a quid for each inkjet cartridge you donate to them but they can only take Lexmark, Hewlett Packard and Dell inkjet cartridges.
  • Environmental Business Products Ltd raise money for charities including Tommy’s, Breast Cancer Campaign, The Samaritans and The British Heart Foundation by recycling printer cartridges and mobile phones. EBP won a Queen’s Award in 2004.
  • Recycling Appeal The Recycling Appeal collects mobile phones, PDAs and printer cartridges for reuse and recycling, raising funds and helping the environment. Their partner organisations include Barnados, Macmillan and Scope.


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Recycled office supplies


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