How Are Printer Cartridges Recycled – Step by Step

Do you know how to properly dispose of empty toner and printer cartridges once their useful lives have expired? Maybe you just threw them in the trash with the rest of your garbage without really thinking about what would happen next since you were unsure of what to do with them. Simply said, recycling cartridges should be the sole answer to this issue, but how many of us can confidently claim to know where to begin? Don’t be concerned; it’s easy, and we’ll walk you through it step by step.

Step 1: Collection – Where can I take my empty printer and toner cartridges to be recycled?

The first step is to deliver your used toner and printer cartridges to a pickup location for cartridge recycling. Any empty cartridges can be dropped off at the store nearest you to have them packaged and ready for pickup.

Step 2: Sorting & Processing – What happens to cartridges during the recycling process?

After being collected, the used printer and toner cartridges are processed and sorted at a specialized recycling facility run by Close the Loop. By using “Green Machines,” cartridges are securely disassembled into their component pieces. Steel, aluminum, clean and contaminated plastic, leftover toner, and ink are all separated throughout this procedure.

Step 3: Re-purpose – How are the recycled cartridge parts used?

Each component of the discarded cartridge can be disassembled and used in a variety of new ways to create new goods. –


Aluminum is used to construct food and beverage cans, while steel is utilized to make appliances like refrigerators and washing machines.


Items like pens are made from clean plastics. Any contaminated plastics and leftover components are crushed and turned into “eWood,” a synthetic wood product that may be used to create furniture and fences.


Any leftover ink is utilized to make recycled artist ink or to fill pens.


Asphalt, recycled glass, and plastic are combined with residual toner to create high-quality pavement and road surfaces. It’s quite incredible when you stop to think about it, yet you probably already use things every day that were once printer cartridges. Therefore, the next time you go to dispose of your empty printer cartridges, please remember to do so carefully so that they can be recycled and used again.
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