Ink cartridges are one of the most innovative things to grace the world. But when they come to the end of their life, they can become a problem. For several years, the world failed to deal with it and it’s only recently that people have started to pay attention to the detrimental effects of used ink cartridges in the environment. Most people aren’t aware about the negative effects of used ink cartridges or how they can help solve the problem. In this post, we talk about why serious action is needed and what people can do to help address the issue.

Used ink cartridges that aren’t disposed of properly affect the environment.

You only need to look at the Chinese city of Guiyu to see how badly e-waste from ink cartridges (as well as other electronic waste) has devastated the environment. Ink cartridges contain carcinogens, which can contribute to serious health issues like cancer. The ink and metals that are within ink cartridges contaminate the environment. In the Guiyu, the environment has been contaminated so badly that the town’s drinking water has to be imported from neighbouring towns.

How many used ink cartridges end up in landfill every year?

According to statistics from Cartridges 4 PlanetArk, up to 80 million used ink cartridges end up in landfill every year. The problem with ink cartridges ending up in landfill is that they take anywhere from 400-1000 years to biodegrade. And the chemicals that are within the cartridge are hazardous to the environment.

What can people do?

There are a few things that people can do to prevent used ink cartridges from ending up in landfill. These include the following.

Stop disposing ink cartridges in the waste or recycling bin.

Ink cartridges that end up in the waste or recycling bin end up in landfill sites. So make sure that they are disposed of separately. Many people think they are doing the right thing when they dispose their used ink cartridges in the recycling bin. The problem is most recyclers don’t have the equipment or facilities to process ink cartridges. As a result, they end up going straight to landfill sites.

Organising an ink cartridge recycling process in your organisation.

Managers within your organisation can create a process that will allow teams to dispose used ink cartridges in the right way. The key is to ensure that used cartridges are disposed separately in a storage container or bin. These used cartridges can then be taken to a specialist recycler, where they can recycle the parts within the ink cartridge and create new products such as plastic pens, ink or ewood.

Partner with an ink cartridge supplier that offers a recycling collection service.

This is a great solution for busy organisations that simply don’t have the time or the resources to manage their own recycling process. They can partner with a supplier like Cartridges Direct, who provide mail satchels for organisations to return used ink cartridges for recycling. Check to see where you can make improvements in your ink cartridge recycling process so you don’t contribute to the problem, and instead contribute to the solution.