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The Circle of Ink - Closing the Loop on Cartridge Recycling

The Circle of Ink - Closing the Loop on Cartridge Recycling
By Simon Williams
September 18, 2018

There is a slowly spinning vortex of rubbish caught in the currents of the Great Pacific Ocean. The waste that has been discarded throughout the centuries of human technological development has created a problem that will take billions of dollars and many years to solve. But the damage has been done and now the focus is on a two-pronged attack for repairing the environment. The first part is to bring the creation of waste to a complete halt - by recycling as well as restricting manufactured products to be recyclable, until there is no net change in global waste. The second part is to embark on the great project of clearing existing waste and effecting repair on the affected ecosystems.


Every Printer Cartridge sold by Cartridges Direct has the capacity to be Closed Loop Recycled. The principle behind Closing The Loop is like taking muddy boots off before trying to mop the floor; recycling your empty Original Printer Cartridges by putting them into a Cartridges 4 Planet Ark Collection Box means that every part is recycled and reapplied to a new use. With this method, printer cartridges result in zero waste, contributing to the global efforts of environmental sustainability.

Processing Parts

Technology may have gotten us into this mess, but technology will get us out. After used Printer Cartridges and Toners have been collected, they’re sent to Close the Loop where specially designed machinery can separate the different materials that make up a cartridge and prepare them to become something new. Because of the wide variety of Printer Cartridges available for different printers, a human element is also necessary - the cartridges and other recycled printer parts are hand-sorted first. The Green Machine shreds cartridges into pieces so that then magnets and eddie currents can extract all the metals from the pieces. The process ends when all the raw materials, like plastics, toner powder, leftover inks, and metals, have been cleanly separated.


Recycled Roads

Turning second-hand materials into a functional product carries its own challenges. The collected soft plastics, glass, and leftover Toner all goes towards Tonerplas™, a road-replacement made from 25% recycled materials. Not only is it environmentally sound and a great reuse of single-use shopping bags, but it makes a stronger pavement than standard road asphalt. The EnviroLiner Pen, on the other hand, is more in line with what you’d expect a recycled Printer Cartridge to become; leftover dyes from Inkjet Cartridges blend to become a high quality ink within these pens, which are structured from recycled plastic. Almost every part of the pen is made from recycled materials, keeping them out of landfill.

Everything is made from raw materials, and if you can reverse the process and reuse those materials then trash becomes treasure. The cycle of rubbish, like the trash islands in the ocean, can finally stop spinning.