The debate around recycling has become considerably more complex since China declined to continue processing other people’s waste, including Australia. This was an unpredictable decision, and one that has forced many countries to strategize what recycle management now looks like in their respective regions. For Australia, this has meant the masses of recycled waste is being stored or finding its way into landfill. There is however, one exception to this state of affairs; printer cartridges. Printer cartridges are being recycled without the need for exportation, and it’s a leading example of how recyclables could be managed.
How can printer cartridges be recycled?
So, how can printer cartridges be exempt from the current recycling political climate? Leading printer manufacturers have taken control of the question surrounding recycling, and turned it into a sustainable solution. Through Close The Loop and other supporting entities, pieces of the cartridge can be repurposed to produce future cartridges and avoid them ending up in landfill.
Close The Loop work in partnership with sustainable entities and large printing manufacturers, to source and recycle cartridges that won’t be refilled, returned, or reused.
What’s the process?
It’s testament to the drivers of Close The Loop that these recycling capabilities are pioneered and can be administered in Australia. The cartridge is recycled using specially designed machinery, to pull apart and re-create the used unit. The cartridge gets broken down into microscopic raw materials, and then these materials are located using magnets to separate the iron-based metals from other compounds. They are then separated again using currents to isolate metals such as aluminum. Businesses looking to be involved in the Close The Loop process can hand over their cartridges and contribute to the recycling movement on Australian land.
So, what does the future of recycling look like in Australia?
Following the Waste Strategy Summit in 2018, the greatest minds in the country across waste management, recycling, resources recovery and environmental sustainability came together to create a plan for the future of recycling. The Summit predicted that businesses will be more engaged in the issue following the likely rise in the recycling levy. Greenpeace will continue to put forward ways of decreasing the amount of plastic, without residents radically changing their day-to-day practises.
It’s important to remember that not all recycling is exported, and there are sustainable solutions well within the grasp of many businesses. Initiatives like Close The Loop, which are driven by larger manufacturers, are an easy way to wave the flag against waster in the country.