The Environmental Impact of Toner Cartridges

Posted by Adrian Tolhurst on January 23, 2014 under Toner Cartridge Recycling | Be the First to Comment

Cartridges that are not returned via an ink recycling scheme can end up being exported to places like Guiyu in China.  China imports millions of tonnes of waste printer cartridges each year. These empty cartridges can end up on landfill sites or waste dumps and only ink recycling can prevent this.  According to research by the Basal Action Network, this small town was once a rural farming community but a lack of ink recycling facilities in the west means that pollution caused by the cartridges which end up on dumps has transformed the landscape in to a barren wasteland where the local people are forced to scavenge to make a living.  The people of this village are not ink recycling, they are scavenging for toner cartridges that they will then break down to extract the pigment from the toner.

The pigment is known as Carbon Black and is a hazardous substance. During the ink recycling process, this substance is disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner, however, when the people of Guiyu are collecting the toner, they are breathing in the toxins and the toner is in contact with their bare skin.  Aside from the respiratory problems that can be caused by inhalation of the toxic Carbon Black, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is a part of the World Health Organization, has identified Carbon Black as a carcinogenic.  A carcinogenic is a substance that can cause or create cancer so it is vital that we stop the dumping of empty cartridges through our ink recycling initiatives.

You can start your own recycling programme with us here.

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