While the world's non-renewable resources continue to be depleted by many industries, electronic waste in particular has grown exponentially ever since the invention of the microprocessor. The good news is that, though currently a major source of landfill material, there are simple ways that many electronic goods can be recycled, reused, and remanufactured. One of the best examples of this is found in print cartridge recycling; a process that has been largely overlooked in the past, but is being taken very seriously now by consumers, governments, and businesses alike.
By the year 2012 over 500 million toner cartridges and a staggering 1.8 billion ink cartridges will have been dumped in landfills. In comparison, the amount of cartridges that are recycled each year is a mere fraction. While about 28% of United States citizens recycle, only about 5% of ink and toner cartridges are turned in to the proper facilities for remanufacturing. Considering that each individual cartridge can result in 3.5 pounds of solid waste in a landfill and can take from 450 to 1000 years to decompose, the affects that the constant dumping of ink cartridges is having in the planet becomes all too clear.
Raw waste material is not the only problem posed by trashed ink and toner cartridges. Each new cartridge must also be manufactured, and thus consume resources while emitting pollution. The manufacturing process it takes to produce an ink cartridge releases green house gases, thus polluting the atmosphere along with the earth. About 4.8 kg CO2 of GOGs are estimated to result from the production of a single ink or toner cartridge, and this figure does not even include the ink or toner inside the cartridge.
Producing new cartridges, instead of recycling or remanufacturing old cartridges, also requires a significant degree of raw materials and resources. Ink and toner cartridges are comprised of plastic, metal, rubber, paper, and foam. About 40% of toner cartridges' composition is metal while another 40% consists of plastic, which means it can take up to an entire gallon of petroleum oil to manufacture. Regular inkjet cartridges can require the usage of up to 2 quarts of oil for their plastic components as well.
With about 11 cartridges being disposed of every single second in the U.S., the cartridges thrown away in just one year could wrap around the earth 3 times. Most cartridges that are not properly disposed of through recycling end up in landfills, but some percentage of these cartridges are incinerated, which can result in even more pollution. Additionally, the cartridges that are thrown away are not truly a waste product, and consist of many reusable and recyclable materials. Reusing certain parts that are still usable in their current form is called remanufacturing, while the reuse of raw materials is recycling, and both types of reuse greatly help to reduce waste and air pollution, as well as spare petroleum use.
While recycling programs for toner cartridges go widely unrecognized among businesses and the public, largely due to their inconvenience factor, Quickship.com has now launched a comprehensive ink and toner recycling program that involves shipping the cartridges instead of bringing them the a facility. The program is flexible and able to suit the needs of a large business or that of a sole consumer with a single cartridge and, best of all, Quickship, Inc. pays all the shipping charges, making caring for the environment by cartridge recycling both easy and virtually cost free.
For more information visit Quickship.com.
The beauty of recycling is not only that it is a way for us to do our part in preserving our ecosystem, but also that it gets easier to do every day. Toner cartridges, much like almost all other petroleum based products, can be both remanufactured and recycled for their raw material. Unfortunately, recycling toner cartridges has, in the past, been somewhat of a hassle. The lack of available ink and toner cartridge deposit centers was, and still is, very limited. Occasionally seen recycling incentive programs have done little to increase the overall number of print cartridges recycled every year, and consumers are constantly looking for easier ways to properly dispose of recyclable electronic waste, but they are often not to be found. Quickship.com may have come up with the solution.
With over 700 million ink cartridges (650 million inkjet cartridges and 70 million toner cartridges) consumed each year in the United States alone, it is easy to see that the problem is a large one, especially when considering the small fraction of those cartridges that end up in proper recycling centers and remanufacturing plants as opposed to landfills. With only 5% of all ink and toner cartridges ending up being recycled, garbage dumps are now flooded, unnecessarily, with what is ultimately a reusable resource.
Other countries and continents suffer from a similar dilemma, with Canada using 60 million cartridges per year (59 million inkjet cartridges and 7 million toner cartridges) and Europe using almost 600 million (525 million inkjet and 49 million toner). Other heavily industrialized countries such as Japan and India also contribute to the worldwide numbers, and yet the number of recycled ink and toner cartridges sold across the entire planet on a yearly basis is a mere 100 million.
With a simple, free, and easy system for recycling ink and toner cartridges, Quickship.com empowers consumers with an effective way to reduce these numbers by mailing single cartridges, or hundreds at a time, at no cost, without ever leaving the office. Here's how it works:
Users sign on to Quickship's toner recycling page at http://www.quikshiptoner.com/catalog/recycling_form.php
There, they can fill in their shipping information and information on the cartridges they wish to ship.
Quickship will then mail you a pre-printed shipping label that can be used to ship used ink and toner cartridges to one of their warehouses, and the best part is, Quickship pays the shipping!
Ship the cartridges, and you're done.
After the consumer ships their cartridges, packages are received by Quickship, Inc. and sorted at one of their facilities and then sent to the proper cartridge recycling locations. Upon arrival, cartridges are again sorted based on condition of the cartridge and printer model. Examination for damages and wear is checked, and all broken or worn out parts are replaced with new components. After refilling the reworked cartridges with either ink or toner, they are extensively checked for errors or operational problems and, upon passing inspection, are sealed in new packages. They are now remanufactured cartridges!
Other than remanufacturing, cartridges can also be recycled by reworking the units' raw material waste and reworking it. By reusing critical parts, up to 3.5 pounds of solid waste per cartridge can be prevented from ever seeing a landfill and petroleum resources can be used for purposes other than reproducing parts that already exist, thus helping to reduce the overall impact of electronic waste on the planet.
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Print Management and Waste Reduction
Recycling toner cartridges is just one way that consumers can use better print management to produce less waste and reduce the impact of business on the ecosystem. Recycling and using remanufactured products is only one part of economical print management; a process that involves utilizing environmentally friendly materials, less paper, print monitoring, and other elements to result in a more green, efficient, and cost effective print process. By utilizing technological advances such as automatic duplexing, PC faxing, and built in print management software, coupled with economical paper usage and good common sense, a significant portion of waste can be eliminated from the entire printing process.
The process of print management begins with purchases. Users can select hardware and print materials that are often both economically and environmentally friendly to better convenience the company and ecosystem alike. Recycled paper is usually only slightly more expensive, and helps to reduce the effect of logging for materials. Though it is marginally more costly, recycled paper often comes with a recognizable water mark that many customers and consumers will appreciate, potentially boosting customer satisfaction.
Remanufactured print consumables are readily available online, and are often less expensive than brand new supplies! Remanufactured ink and toner cartridges simply reuse parts that have not worn out along with replacement elements for worn out or broken hardware. Each remanufactured cartridge is thoroughly tested and often comes with a guarantee, reducing buyer risk to almost nil.
Duplex printing is one of the simplest, most obvious ways to reduce paper usage by as much as half. In today's market, built in automatic duplexing has become a popular hardware addition or inclusion in many printer and multifunctional models all the way from industrial level copy machines down to home desktop units. When a built in duplexor is taken advantage of, two sided printing becomes automatic with almost no user intervention involved. Users operating printers without a built in automatic duplexor can take advantage of most models' manual duplex option in which print operators manually flip pages or stacks of work by hand, but this is not an effective solution for business level print volume and duplexing in an office setting should be done by machine. Printing duplex material not only saves paper, but also creates a professional, two sided look to work material, or can be used to create foldable pamphlets and flyers.
One of the easiest ways to reduce consumption, and therefore waste, is by utilizing the toner save mode found in most printers and multifunctional machines on the market. Unfortunately, when using an ink or toner save mode, printed material will sometimes come out looking faded, and should therefore not be used when producing presentation material, but simple drafts and unimportant prints can be printed with less ink with no consequence.
Print management software is often included with office level printers, and is almost always an essential part of color laser printing due to the immense cost of materials. With print management software, administrators can monitor print usage and restrict usage via printer lockouts, make adjustments, and even divide a network into departments allowing certain privileges (such as full color printing) to some, while denying others.
Lastly, there is a function built into almost any current fax machine or multifunctional center called PC faxing. When utilizing PC faxing, faxes are sent as they normally would be by way of modem through the fax line, but users can both receive and send fax material directly from and to their PCs. This is an excellent way to reduce paper usage, while still communicating with other businesses and individuals who rely on fax technology.
When print cartridge recycling is coupled with better print management and waste reduction, the footprint left by electronic print waste on the environment can be significantly decreased. Look into the many ways that your business can reduce waste, and cost, by being environmentally friendly, and take advantage of cartridge recycling programs from companies like Quickship.com.
For more information visit Quickship.com.
Some active Members of our Recycling Program