Earth Day Essay
Each year, over 700 million ink cartridges are consumed in the United States. A small fraction of empty ink cartridges are recycled, but many more end up in landfills. Leaking ink from used cartridges can pollute the environment, and the plastic they're made of will take many generations to decompose. Up to three quarts of oil are needed to produce a single printer cartridge.
One-third of businesses nationwide use remanufactured printer cartridges. Recycling your laser and ink jet printer cartridges will reduce the amount of plastic put into landfills. Most cartridges can be recycled up to six times and are guaranteed by most manufacturers to work as well as brand-new ones.
Over 375 million empty toner cartridges and ink cartridges are thrown into the trash every year in the US. Most of these printer cartridges end up on landfill sites or in incinerators. 375 million cartridges amount to roughly 11 cartridges being disposed of every second. If you put all these cartridges end to end they would cover a distance encircling the earth over three times. This mountain of waste can be reduced through reuse and recycling. Yet approximately 70% of all ink cartridges and 50% of all toner cartridges are still not recycled. Things are continuously changing for the better with pressure from legislation, environmental awareness among consumers and a more mature recycling industry. The plastics used in printer cartridges are made of an engineering grade polymer that have a very slow decomposing rate ranging between 450 to 1000 years depending on the cartridge type. Ink cartridges may also leak printer ink polluting the surrounding environment.
By recycling printer cartridges, we conserve natural resources and energy by reducing the need for virgin materials. Up to 97 percent of the materials that make up a printer cartridge can be recycled or reused if taken care of. Printer cartridges can in extreme cases be refilled up