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How to recycle Empty printer cartridges

How to recycle Empty printer cartridges
By Simon Williams
June 17, 2020

How quickly a week can unfold. what you had planned on Monday seems unrealistic on Friday, and so we tend to go for the convenient and easy path. When it comes to disposing of empty Original Printer Cartridges, there can only be one way to do it. Recycling empty printer cartridges is a responsibility that has never been more important, and as our habits and priorities shift, it’s time for a refresher on the correct process of how to dispose of cartridges ethically and environmentally. 

Here at CartridgesDirect, we are committed to closing the loop by giving empty printer cartridges an opportunity to be used again in future technology while sparing precious virgin materials. Let’s review what to do when your printer cartridges are empty, and how this small action can make a big impact on our community and environment.

Recycling for business users

If you work in an office environment, don’t be fooled into thinking that someone else is taking care of the printer cartridges recycling, as what can happen is that it’s no one's official responsibility and so the right processes are not followed. Apathy is probably one of the biggest threats to our environment. Perhaps you can be the one to champion this critical task and educate your team on why this is important and why we should all want to strive for a circular economy. Let’s find out how easy it is to recycle your printer cartridges. 

Offices around the country have registered their workplace and contributed to over 46,000 printer cartridges being recycled, an incredible effort but one that we need to do on an ongoing basis. Cartridges 4 Planet Ark offer a convenient collection program. If your workplace, organisation, university or community group gets through more than three inkjets, toner cartridges or toner bottles in one month - you are eligible to apply for a collection box on site for empty cartridges. These boxes are collected at regular intervals and the cartridges go for zero waste recycling. This consumption isn’t as much as you think, so talk to the person tasked with ordering and see if you qualify for a collection box.

Recycling for home users

If the current pandemic has been a springboard for you and your business to work from home on a permanent or semi-permanent basis - that’s fantastic! It’s also easy to comply with printer cartridge recycling from home, with Cartridges 4 Planet Ark also accepting cartridges for sole users at collection points in most Australia Post Offices and other locations. One of the reasons remote workers are reluctant to deposit these items is that they are unsure of what is exactly accepted. Here is a list of what you can drop off at the drop-off locations:

  • Inkjet cartridges
  • Mixed cartridges
  • Laser cartridges  
  • Unused cartridges (you can also return these direct to manufacturer)
  • Toner bottles
  • Fused and drum units
  • Print heads
  • Waste hoppers/containers and kits

If you find yourself working from a library at various points in your workweek, you can also drop off any of the above products at the library drop-off bins. 

What are we working towards, and how far have we come?

It’s taken the commitment of many ethical individuals to get to the point where our leading print manufacturers are confident that they can make a huge percentage of their future products from used print technology. Since 2003, over 45.5 million cartridges have been recycled in Australia - and we are gaining even more momentum as the education grows among businesses and workplaces. While this is a huge figure, it’s actually only a small fraction of the number that has been sold in Australia over the last 17 years, so there is still a ways to go and we can all contribute more to the cause either by participation or spreading the message.


If you are still unclear on how you can dispose of your empty cartridges and what the next steps are in the recycling process, you can always reach out to our team for more information and instructions on how you can get involved. Also, our team can help you learn about which printing models are made from recycled parts, and contribute the movement by supporting the manufacturers who are leading this space and daring to do things differently for the sake of the environment.


David Bennett wrote:

Over 100 used cartridges, kindly let myself know to get rid of.

On 3/4/2022 7:57 PM

Simon Williams replied:

Hi David, I would recommend collecting them all together and drop into any collection box at an Australia Post outlet. If they happen to be toner cartridges then I would look at getting them collected from Cartridges 4 Planet Ark which offers a free service for these.

On 4/4/2022 7:10 AM

Patricia Swinnerton-Cooper wrote:

Hi, I have Compatable HP cartridges, can these be recycled (the supplier doesn't do this). If so could you send me a satchel/ envelope for Me to send them to you. Thank you.

On 7/10/2021 7:14 AM

Simon Williams replied:

We do recycle those cartridges and we'd be happy to send you a satchel to recycle them. We have a couple of options. You can place an order for some replacement ink cartridges and we'll send you a satchel free of charge with your order. Alternatively, you can order a satchel by itself for $9.95 and this covers the cost of shipping back to the recycling centre.

On 7/10/2021 9:58 AM

Shawn Smith wrote:

I have quite a bit off empty cartridges but would like to sell it... Where can I

On 30/7/2021 4:21 AM

Simon Williams replied:

This used to be a thing but to the best of my knowledge, they aren't of value any longer. I would perhaps try a refilling business to see whether they require them. If not, the next time you order from CartridgesDirect we'll send you a free of charge recycling satchel and when this method is used they will be used for road surfaces and the like and won't end up in landfill.

On 30/7/2021 7:51 AM