More and more businesses are implementing green initiatives and are working toward office sustainability. Recycling materials, reducing waste, and reusing supplies is not only good for the environment, it makes savvy business sense as well.

But not all green initiatives are created equal. Some may not have the positive impact you think.

For example, businesses are realizing the negative impact e-waste from toner and ink cartridges have on the environment. The plastic in the cartridge can take centuries to decay, adding to our growing landfills. The toxic remnants of the ink and toner can also leak into our water supply – affecting animals, plants, and people.

This is one reason why businesses are making a strong effort to implement office sustainability.

Remanufactured toner cartridgesare not only good for the environment, they make good business sense.

There are plenty of programs out there for recycling toner and ink cartridges. And, many of them even provide discounts and cost savings on printing.

It’s important to keep in mind that there is a difference between recycled and remanufactured toner cartridges. We’re going to dig into the difference and help you to develop an office sustainability plan.

What Are Remanufactured Toner Cartridges?

Many of us don’t really consider what happens to a toner or ink cartridge after it is sent to be recycled. Depending on where it is sent, the process can be very different.

A remanufactured toner cartridge is sent to a manufacturer who will assess the quality of the cartridge. Any damaged parts will be repaired or replaced. The ink will be replaced, and a quality test will assess the cartridge before it is resold and reused.

In most cases, a remanufactured product leaves a much smaller carbon footprint than recycling, which is good for the environment.

Many experts believe that remanufactured ink cartridges provide significant cost savings. The cost of a remanufactured product is typically between 30% to 60% less than a toner or ink cartridge from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

The OEM works with the printer companies to set prices for ink and toner. These prices are sometimes needlessly high. The company that offers remanufactured products can set the price according to the market.

Make sure to review the warranty that comes with any remanufactured product. Ask the supplier what quality tests are done for each remanufactured toner or ink cartridge. Review the quality for yourself as well. And, keep in mind, remanufactured products will not reduce the life of your printer.

The Problem with Recycled Toner and Ink Cartridges

Recycling is good for the environment. Every toner or ink cartridge we can keep out of a landfill and prevent from adding toxic waste to our food and water supply is good.

That said, there are dangers and problems associated with recycling toner and ink cartridges. Let’s take a look at a few of those dangers and review the benefits of remanufactured toner cartridges over recycling.

Additives in Recycled Toner Cartridges

Plastic is a very complex product. When recycling, any foreign material can ruin an entire recycling batch. The additional chemicals and additives used in the manufacturing process for the toner or ink cartridge can ruin a batch of recycled plastics.

In fact, most recycling centers can’t easily manage a complex plastic product like a toner cartridge. Most times, the center will end up throwing away the cartridge rather than risk ruining or contaminating a batch of recycled plastic.

Toxins in Recycled Toner Cartridges

When a toner or ink cartridge is recycled, it is melted down to be reused in a new product. This can release dangerous gases and toxic chemicals, especially in the complex plastics used in cartridges.

Recycling centers should have a protocol in place to prevent the toxins from leaking into the environment, but those toxins and chemicals still need to be safely disposed.

There is also a potential danger of exposure when recycled plastics are reused. There is currently no easy way of tracking how a plastic is reused after recycling, and the toxins that are perfectly safe for an ink cartridge may not be as safe for use in a product that contacts with food. While the chance of this occurring may be low, it is still a danger with recycling toner cartridges.

Office Sustainability and Remanufactured Toner Cartridges

Remanufactured toner cartridges provide a clear benefit over recycled plastic from toner and ink cartridges. Recycling plastic, while generally safe, is not easy. Toxins can be released, and the plastic can be put to a potentially dangerous use.

On top of other benefits, remanufactured ink cartridges provide significant cost savings to the office over OEM cartridges. All important considerations as you plan your office budget for the future!

Learn more about the latest in office sustainability from the leaders in technology and green initiatives at Advantage Imaging Supply (AIS).