⚠️ Don't Recycle Full Cartridges until you've read this!

So you've been clearing out the storeroom and you're wondering what to do with the old but unused inks or toners you found, and your first thought is probably just to recycle them — that sounds good right?

Maybe you planned to return them to the printer manufacturer, recycle them with your empty or used cartridges, or drop them off at a local office supply store...?

1) Most toner collection initiatives don't accept unused cartridges or can't use them properly.

2) There are environmental issues to check before deciding where to dispose of full printer cartridges...

Man screams at tsunami because he accidentally recycled his unwanted cartridges rather than checking our guide first...

Don't be like this guy and regret deciding to recycle your cartridges — check out your other options first.

  CO2 Savings Oil Savings Charitable Benefit
cartridgeforest 🌳 5kg
+ 360kg for 🌲🌲
3 liters 2 trees planted
with charity
refilling ↩️ 4.5kgs 2.7 liters ❓
typical for office supply store return programs
recycling ♻️ 2.5kgs 1.5 liters ❓
typical for printer manufacturer return programs
landfill πŸ—‘οΈ ❌ 0kg ❌ 0% ❌

TL;DRcartridgeforest 🌳 is your best bet.

Our free, nationwide program offers 1) maximum environmental benefit by repurposing full cartridges & 2) even plants 2 trees per toner returned, which makes a huge 360kg dent in your CO2 footprint.

Yes we're a little biased 🀣 but we have also planted over 145,000 trees since 2015 & offset 25,000 tons of CO2...

Donate Printer Cartridges Now

landfill πŸ—‘οΈ

Let's start with the easiest but worst approach — disposing of your full ink & toner in the trash... 😬

Environmental Impact: No CO2 or oil savings. ⚠️ Potential chemical leakage from ink and toner, and plastics will take 1,000s of years to degrade and leech as microplastics, both contributing directly to soil and water pollution.

Charitable Benefit: None.

Summary: A missed opportunity for any kind of positive environmental or charitable action, and potentially directly damaging to the environment.

recycling ♻️

Cartridge broken down into separate materials like scrap metal, scrap plastics that may be used in other products or potentially other cartridges.

Most return programs offered by printer manufacturers are typically just recycling.

Environmental Impact: 50% savings of resources involved in cartridge manufacture (2.5kg CO2 and 1.5 liters oil) — mainly from reusing the scrap plastics.

Charitable Benefit: zero if you use a manufacturers' own recycle program. If donated to a specialist charity collection program, charities will see some %ge of the $1-5 market value for popular models — mostly paid by printer manufacturers to prevent refilling.

Summary: prevents landfill only. Not all programs accept unused cartridges. 50% of inputs are wasted. Zero or low charitable benefit.

refilling ↩️

Replenishing the ink or toner of a cartridge by an end-user or by a refilling company.

Most collection programs offered in office supplies stores are operated by global refilling companies.

Environmental Impact: A 90% savings of resources involved in cartridge manufacture if successfully refilled, as only new ink, toner and small components may be needed — 4.5kgs of CO2 and 2.7 liters of oil.

Charitable Benefit: zero if dropped at an office supply store program. If donated to a specialist charity collection program, charities will see some %ge of the $1-5 market value paid by refillers for popular models.

Other considerations: 25% estimated will be either damaged en route, fail testing, or rejected by end-user. These units will end up being recycled instead.

Summary: not all programs take full cartridges. 70-90% of inputs are regained, but zero or low charitable benefit. No trees.

cartridgeforest 🌳

Our free program repurposes the full printer cartridge as-is, finding a new home for it.

And we pledge to plant 2 trees with Trees For The Future 🌿 for each cartridge reused in this way to directly contribute to reforestation.

Environmental Impact: the cartridge is used as-is to fill demand for a new cartridge — 5kg of CO2 and 3 liters of oil saved; 2x more than recycling.

Charitable Benefit: 2 trees planted with Trees For The Future per cartridge. These trees will absorb 360kg CO2 over their lifetime, which massively and proactively offsets the carbon footprint of your printing in a way the other routes cannot.

Other considerations: you get a certificate to demonstrate your contribution to the planet, but not all items are eligible.

Summary: yes we're biased, but the CO2 captured is 72x that of the next best option because of the 2 trees planted per cartridge — definitely the best option for only a little extra effort.

Donate Printer Cartridges Now

Assumptions for figures above: 5kg of CO2 and 3 liters of oil to produce a typical toner from scratch. Average tree captures 180kg of CO2 over its lifetime. Percentages for recycling and refilling are estimates based on around 50% of materials by weight replaced for recycling, and 10% in refilling.

πŸ₯° our supporters β†’ a forest of stories

Certificate 0

Maschoff Brennan

in Salt Lake City, UT donated 5 HP toners

& planted 10 trees

April 12, 2024

Certificate 1

Priority Mechanical

in Edmonton, AB donated 13 Xerox photocopier items

& planted 26 trees

April 11, 2024

Certificate 2


in UK donated 5 Epson inks

& planted 10 trees

April 10, 2024

Certificate 3


in Dallas, TX donated 27 Epson inks

& planted 54 trees

April 10, 2024

Certificate 4

CUPE Local 79

in Toronto, ON donated 8 HP laserjet toners

& planted 16 trees

March 27, 2024

Cartridge Forest logo

Content copyright 2015 — 2024. All rights reserved. Cartridge Forest Inc & Seriously Easy Ltd in partnership with Trees For The Future 🌿 to improve recycling across the πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ United States, πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦ Canada, πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί Australia & the πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ United Kingdom.

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