Waste Prevention Information Exchange: Appliances
Ink and Toner Cartridges
This subtopic addresses computer and printer ink and toner cartridge reuse and recycling. In the arena of printer cartridges, the terms reuse and recycling are commonly used interchangeably, and thus incorrectly. For definitions of the terms reuse and recycling, see the Waste Prevention World definition page.
If an ink or toner cartridges has been used under normal circumstances until it is empty, it can be managed by one of the following means:
- Disposing of the container in the trash, or at an appropriate solid waste facility.
- Shipping the container for reclamation or reuse.
In general, if an ink or toner cartridge contains a substance that is hazardous, and if those substances remain in an unused or defective ink or toner cartridge, then the cartridge must be managed as hazardous waste when they are disposed. To learn what is in any particular ink or toner cartridge, consult the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) provided by the manufacturer. (See the heading "Material Safety Data Sheets" below.) To keep things simple and to be safe, you may manage all ink and toner cartridges that are not empty as hazardous waste. Consult your local hazardous waste agency.
- Have You Gotten Charged Lately?—Describes the benefits of recycling your used computer printer ink/toner cartridges. Includes testimonials by California agencies, including the California Integrated Waste Management Board, on their experience using recharged printer ink/toner cartridges.
- Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Letter—From DTSC to Hewlett Packard Inc., July 23, 1992. The relevant part of this letter is the disposal of both empty and not empty ink cartridges if the cartridges contained or contain a substance that is toxic, ignitable, reactive, or corrosive, as prescribed by regulation, or is specifically listed in the regulations as hazardous, which would classify the substance as hazardous waste. (PDF, 404 KB.)
- Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)—Learn what hazards might be associated with the contents of ink and toner cartridges of the following manufacturers. If you find MSDSs for ink and toner cartridges of other manufacturers, please e-mail email@example.com, so they can also be posted on this page.
- Cartridge Reuse and Recycling Programs
- CURE Recycling—Collects empty inkjets, and used cell phones from consumers. The ink cartridges and cell phones are inspected and used again.
- Enviro Solutions' Printer Cartridge Recycling Programs—Provides businesses and non-profit, educational, and charity organizations with fundraising opportunities by collecting inkjet cartridges.
- Freerecycling.com—Set up your own inkjet cartridge and cell phone collection program. Free recycling will pay you for cartridges and cell phones the you collect.
- Fundraising Factory—Provides businesses and nonprofit, educational, and charity organizations with fundraising opportunities by collecting inkjet cartridges.
- Green Fund Network—Provides businesses and nonprofit, educational, and charity organizations with fundraising opportunities by collecting inkjet cartridges.
- HP Product Recycling—A program to cycle computer equipment and printer supplies.
- Planet Green Inc.—Provides an inkjet and laser cartridge program to benefit individuals, schools, churches, and nonprofit organizations. Most cartridges are reused. Those not suitable for reuse are recycled. Planet Green Inc. also has a cell phone collection program.
- recycle-FREE—Provides businesses and nonprofit, educational, and charity organizations with fundraising opportunities by collecting inkjet cartridges.
- T3Toner—Buyback of empty toner, inkjet, fax, and copier cartridges, and of surplus inventory, expired, excess, overstock, and outdated printer supplies.
- University of California, Davis—A model campus reuse and recycling program.
- Cartridge Refurbishing and Refilling Equipment
- Ecoprinter—Printer cartridge reuse.
- The Legality of Using Remanufactured Cartridges (Adobe PDF, 1.55 MB) From the County of Ventura's Waste Less website .