How To Recycle Used Toner Cartridges


Do you have a collection of used toner cartridges that you are not sure quite what to do with? Are they still usable or recyclable? And how do I find out where to recycle them? These are all questions we receive pretty often at Office Interiors and the good news is that they’re fully recyclable, and toner cartridge recycling is now easier than ever.

Toner cartridges are full of chemicals that take a long time to break down, which is why you don’t want them to end up in a landfill. Recycling your used toner cartridges is not only good for the environment, but it’s also an excellent way for your company to be more sustainable. So, keep reading to get the scoop on how to recycle used toner cartridges and why it’s important to do so. 

Why Toner Recycling Matters

Toner cartridges are built from steel and plastic components. They require a resource-intense process, and the result is something that takes between 450 and 1,000 years to break down. The numbers are shocking. More than 375 million empty ink and toner cartridges are thrown out every year, and most of them end up in landfills. This enormous lifespan means that every single toner cartridge which has ever been created is still out there, somewhere. So you can imagine how damaging these cartridges can be to the environment.

However, if you recycle used toner cartridges, you reduce the amount of energy and natural resources required to make new ones. The production process of one cartridge emits 4.8 kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (that’s about the average weight of a cat). 

The nature of toner and toner cartridges makes this office staple an excellent candidate for recycling. Most cartridges can be reused or remanufactured four to six times before they’re too worn for re-use. Some damaged cartridges can even be repaired.

Ever wondered if toner is toxic or harmful if ingested or inhaled?  Check out our article Is Printer Toner Toxic for the full explanation.

4 Ways To Recycle Your Used Toner Cartridges

1. Contact a Remanufacturer

Many remanufactured cartridge suppliers resell the refurbished cartridges as remanufactured toner. These remanufactured cartridges usually offer the same or similar quality as original cartridges but at a fraction of the cost. 

It’s best to locate the companies in your area that will take back your used toner cartridges and use them to make new cartridges. Some may pay you for those empty toner cartridges so you might end up with a little extra money in your pocket.

Remanufactured toner is often cheaper than new cartridges, and it usually performs just as well. However, always be sure to ask what standards a third-party reseller uses to guarantee quality. Many will test according to ISO standards, but some have other quality control specs.

2. Return Empties To Your Supplier

Most companies that sell ink and toner (including Office Interiors) will either take back used cartridges for recycling or provide instructions to recycle them yourself.

Big retailers like Staples, Office Depot and Costco have specific programs that encourage recycling of empty ink and toner cartridges. A few even offer reward systems that allow customers to save on future purchases by recycling their used products.

3. Donate Your Cartridges

Check with your favourite charity to see if it accepts donated used toner cartridges. You can also search online for any local groups like reBOOT Canada that will give the proceeds from your recycling efforts to charity.

Once you complete the online donation form, a tax-deductible receipt for the fair market value of your donation will be emailed to you within 4-6 weeks of our receiving your equipment.

4. Give Them Back To The Manufacturer

 Many major brands have their own toner recycling programs, which include taking back used toner cartridges and reusing them or recycling them into other products. You can contact the toner cartridge manufacturer directly and inquire about their specific return policy.

At Office Interiors, Ricoh and Kyocera are two of our primary office technology partners, both of which provide free recycling programs for their used toner cartridges. Let’s take a closer look at what they offer.

How to Recycle Ricoh Toner Cartridges

The company has a comprehensive toner cartridge recycling program that allows customers to return empties free of charge.

Some of Ricoh’s cartridges can be recycled locally using your municipality’s recycling services. If this isn’t the case, you can use a pre-paid label to return them to Ricoh. If you use a higher than average quantity of Ricoh cartridges, the company provides free boxes, collections or pallet pickups.

How to Recycle Kyocera Toner Cartridges

Kyocera’s ECO footPRINT Toner Recycling Program also makes it easy for customers to recycle used toner cartridges.

Similar to the Ricoh program, customers can pack up used and empty cartridges and send them off to the company’s recycling partner. The recycling facility then turns the used cartridges into new products like pens, park benches and asphalt.

The recycling service for toner cartridges is free, and the company pays the postage to return your boxes by Canada Post.

Ready to Start Recycling?

As you can see, there are lots of great reasons to start recycling your used toner cartridges. Fortunately, there are also many ways to do that quickly and easily. 

Still, have questions? Please contact our Supplies Sales team today! We’ll be happy to help you get started. You can also learn how you can save money by purchasing New Compatible rather than OEM toner cartridges.

At Office Interiors, we strongly believe that it is our responsibility to provide our customers with answers and information they need to make an informed decision. We would love to have the opportunity to earn your business and help you to love the way you work!

We aim to answer all the questions and concerns our customers might have. After reading this article, if you still have any questions feel free to contact one of our team members. We’re always happy to help you on your journey to staying connected when it counts.

Cody Turner
Digital Content Specialist
Office Interiors