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Inkjet and toner cartridges are made out of plastic, a petroleum-based product that takes and estimated 1,000 years to decompose. The growing number of manufactured inkjet and toner cartridges is reason for concern; especially since millions of them find their way to landfills and incinerators every year. Not only does this have a negative impact on the environment, it literally takes taxes the resources of cities throughout the United States. Landfill management requires an enormous amount of money each year, just to keep up with the volume of accumulated waste. It is up to us to find a solution that will decrease this growing threat - a solution that may require a proactive approach of recycling old materials.

Recycling used inkjet and toner cartridges is an easy solution that is very beneficial for the environment. Recycling promotes a healthier plant by reducing the amount of solid waste in landfills and helps to conserve raw materials - materials used to make new goods. Recent studies have suggested that people only reuse or recycle between 20-40% of all empty inkjet cartridges; leaving 60-80% of all inkjet and toner cartridges in existing landfills. And with about three hundred million of these cartridges thrown away each year, that can amount to nearly seventy-five thousand tons of trash. The environment simply cannot sustain itself at this current rate of consumption.


Recycling involves a process that changes waste materials into new products. It benefits the environment and it's inhabitants by reducing the consumption rate of raw materials and energy. It also benefits the environment by reducing the production of air pollution, water pollution, and greenhouse gasses. Recycling is one of the three components involved in reducing modern waste and ensures the conversion of waste materials found in empty toner cartridges are made into new products without harming the environment.


Recycling offers many benefits that can help the environment and the people who live in it, and it's benefits can be observed in many ways. For example, recycling saves energy by reducing the energy it takes to process reusable materials. The extra energy used to transport raw materials from one source to the next is also saved. It lessens global warming and environmental pollution by cutting back on manufacturing of new goods using raw materials.


Recyclable materials include many types of raw materials, such as:






and electronics

The petroleum-based plastic found in most inkjet and toner cartridges is a recyclable material. All recyclable materials are sorted through at a collection center that proceeds to clean and reprocess it into new materials bound for manufacturing. Recycling waste material produces a new supply of the same material; this makes it a possible solution to pollution on a bigger scale.


There are many companies that recycle old inkjet and toner cartridges, and many offer recycling services for free. Some companies also include a redeemable ticket when you purchase a new toner cartridges. To recycle without getting a new cartridge, you can also ask office supply stores to refill your old cartridge with ore ink. Ask an adult for help when your printer runs out of ink and work together to find a solution that works for your family and the environment.


Recycling Toner/Inkjet Printer Cartridges (PDF)

Cartridges for Kids

Raise Funds While Saving the Environment: How It Works

Alternative Recycling Locations (PDF)

Inkjet and Toner Cartridges: Recycling Center Locator

General Information on Recycling

Why Should We Recycle: The Benefits

Recycling Guide: Printer Cartridges

Recycling More Obscure Materials

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot: Recycling Guide (PDF)

11 Facts About Recycling

Why Recycling Matters: Fast Facts (PDF)

Teaching Your Kids to Recycle

Recycle This!

NIEHSKids' Pages: Recycle

Empties4Cash: Which Cartridges

The Importance of Recycling Inkjet Cartridges

Welcome to Recycle City!

The Environmental Benefits of Recycling

Be a Green Kid


E-Waste? How 'bout No Waste?

Chances are you have used an electronic device today. Oh wait, you're reading this! That means the computer or mobile phone that is allowing you to check out the Zero Waste Communities blog will one day become what is known as electronic waste (e-waste).


Sadly, there are a lot of computers, televisions and other electronic gadgets out there that will be joining other computers  and cell phones in a heap of plastic and metal debris. Every year Americans dispose of almost 400 million e-waste items alone. Of that, the EPA estimates that only 20% is being recycled. We are here to change that and we need your help.


While electronic waste only accounts for 2% of all the trash in our landfills, these devices account for a significant 70% of toxic waste. Toxic you ask? Yes, toxic. Almost all electronic devices contain potentially polluting stuff like lead, mercury and sulfur.


So what are we to do? More and more we are relying on these item to entertain us, store our data and perform work tasks. They are becoming an essential part of our lives. While the United States hasn't yet banned these products from our landfills like the European Union did back in the 1990s, recycling centers and other appropriate disposal facilities are popping up all around us.


Not yet convinced you shouldn't just dump your old electronic goods in the ol' landfill? Here are some more facts to mull over. First, dumping electronics in trash in the state of California is actually illegal.


Wait, there's more. Cathode tubes in those old televisions and computers typically contain about 4 to 7 lbs of lead alone!


It is estimated that 50 million cell phones are replaced around the world each month with only 10% ever being recycled and even less are being reused. If we recycled one million of these cell phones, it would be the equivalent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of taking 1,368 cars off the road for an entire year.


One last important item to keep in mind when thinking about e-waste's impact on our environment: electronic goods are more often than not trashed before they even stop working properly! So if you have old electronics that are working properly, why not donate them to someone who may be able to use them instead? It's something to consider before you throw it away.


We hope you will join us in keeping e-waste out of our landfills. If you live in San Bernardino, check out CalRecycle's electronic waste search engine to find the location closest to you. Also, San Bernardino's HHW program also accepts e-waste. So there is no excuse for trashing those electronic gadgets!

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