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Why is it so difficult to recycle toner cartridges?

edited August 2013 in - Writing Problems
It's fairly easy to recycle/refill old INK cartridges, but toner cartridges are a real problem. I have already discovered:

if you search for "recycle toner cartridges" you get a lot of search results, but most companies don't actually take TONER cartridges (from laser printers).

It doesn't look like you can refill them yourself. ( believe they work by releasing a powder which is heat-sealed to the paper.)

In the instructions the picture shows putting the old cartridge into the bin, but really, it's a big item and I believe they have toxic elements in them. Surely it's possible for companies to recharge them?

In our supposedly "green" age, why do the big boys make it so difficult for the consumer to act responsibly?

The model is DELL 1160w B&W laser printer.

Any solutions?


  • Try Cartridge World. If there's a branch near you, you can exchange an empty toner cartridge for a refilled one.
  • Check whether your printer maker does a recycling service.

    Epson inkjet cartridges can't be recycled through these recycling schemes, but they will send you little postage bags for sending them back for recycling- well Holland...
  • Dell doesn't seem to. Yes inkjet cartridges can be recycled and I do have the postage bags for my inkjet printer. The problem I've having is with the laser cartridges, which are huge and unwilling to leave home.
  • I am so glad we got a continuous ink supply for our inkjet, no wastage except for the bottles the ink comes in and they go straight in the recycling when they are empty - saves us a fortune too.
  • edited August 2013
    We run a Konica photocopier for all our copying requirements at our churches, which necessarily uses toner, and which we have to send for each time we need it. Konica tell us that the toner cartridges cannot be recycled, and that we should simply put them in the bin.
  • It's so wasteful. When you consider the plastic cartridge and all that's been used to make it. I'm appalled. They can fill them at the manufacturing stage. Why can't they refill them? It's only a powder.
  • It's difficult to do it because the manufacturers don't make any profit out of it.
  • [quote=pbw]It's only a powder.[/quote] Quite a dangerous powder, do be careful not to get any on yourself.

    Neph, what is a continuous ink supply, can you get one for any printer or only some? And which printers can you get one for, and are they the sort of printers that also photocopy, scan etc?
  • [quote=Liz]pbw wrote: It's only a powder.
    Quite a dangerous powder, do be careful not to get any on yourself. [/quote]
    That's correct, and is also the reason that Konica advised us that the cartridges are not recyclable. To quote the engineer when my church warden suggested emptying the excess powder in the bin and washing the cartridge out under the tap; "Don't. Seriously, you don't want that stuff on your skin, or worse still in your lungs. Forget your concern for the environment for once, and just bin it. End of."
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