How can you recycle toners?

In this short report we will discuss the topic “Recycling toner office depot” and know more about printers and cartridges. We will further discuss the different ways toners can be recycled thus preventing its disposal in landfill.

What are toners made of?

Printers have been around for a while for its application in printing out documents for official purposes as well as academics. Printing process saves a lot of time compared to manual typing with the typewriter. Printer works on the basic mechanism of printing out the digital images or writings on a paper using a software. 

To make a print on the paper, specialized inks are used that are heated through a resistor creating bubbles that fire the ink in the form of dots on the paper. These inks are very precise in creating a mark on the paper which helps in converting the screen writings on the physical papers. The printer that uses ink for printing is a type of inkjet printer. The inks used are either based on dye or a pigment where the dye being more economical is most widely used inkjet printers. 

However, they have drawbacks for not being waterproof and hence susceptible to smudging. This is where pigment based ink plays a key role as these offer a fine finish with better quality while being resistant to water and smudging even after 200 years.

With more studies and experiments, toners are developed which are far more reliable and effective than the inkjet. Just how ink is used for inkjet printers, toners are used for laser printers. Toners are dry powder which melts when a laser falls on it. Laser being very precise, will not melt the whole powder, instead only the part where a print needs to be made. This process will not stain the cartridge like an ink does. 

Both ink and toner are used depending on applications. For taking photographs, doing your kids project work and small offices, inkjet printers are used whereas toners are used for a high number of printings such as in schools, medium business etc. Lets know more about the material composition toners and their wide applications.

Toners are granulated powers which can be either black or colored depending on the application. Most tones are based on plastic material as these are easy to melt at not so high temperatures. Early toner mixtures used to contain carbon powder and iron oxide to give the contrasting color, but now these have been replaced with plastic based materials,fumed silica and some minerals. 

For a color based printing process, the fine powder of toner consists of colored pigments,resins, and metal oxide. Owing to the environmental damages due to plastic materials, most toners are being produced from plant based plastic materials which provide a sustainable source rather than the petroleum based resources. 

Photo Courtesy: iStock. Laser printer cartridges.

How can you recycle toners?

The toner material must contain fine particles and chemicals. If you dump it in regular trash the damage is the same as created by any plastic materials. Plastic takes longer time to degrade as these are no naturally occurring microbes that can biodegrade them, and hence these stay for almost 400 years on our planet. Currently less than 10% of the plastic is recycled and most are incinerated releasing harmful chemicals and toxic fumes into the environment. 

Adding more to the plastic problem will create a disastrous effect which cannot be overturned. Keeping this in mind, many manufacturers have specialized recycling programs that you can take advantage of. Since most toner lasts after a few months or days depending on its use, the recycling centers collect these trash on a monthly basis. 

Toner recycling is an easy and reliable way to dispose of tones and since many centers are accepting their manufactured toner cartridges, you can send to these centers. 

The supply stores such as Office Depot, Staples, Best Buy, and Walmart have their own recycling programs and accept the toner cartridges for recycling. You Can either mail them your used toner or can take it to them directly. Not only do these retail stores recycle the toner for you but also they make most of the toners from recycled plastic bottles and plastic hangers. 

Some centers also offer recycling programs where you can mail the empty toner cartridges to the respective manufacturers free of cost. As an example, Dell has partnered with FedEx to deliver the free mail-back recycling programs which is a useful and easy way to dispose of your empty cartridges. This is the best approach considering the current pandemic situation.

You can also discard the toners in the recycling bin where these are taken care of at the recycling centers. Never dispose of tones in non-recycling trash can as these may end up in landfill and release hazardous chemicals from the plastics or metal oxides used in the toner. Nearly 100% of the toner cartridges can be recycled, so why not recycle it for the benefit of our environment. 

Though you cannot toss your cartridges in the normal recycling bin that contains plastic or paper materials, you can always send them for recycling at their respective stores that support the recycling of printer cartridges.  

Photo Courtesy: iStock. Recycling container with toners.

Is toner harmful for the environment?

Recycling is an important process as it reduces a lot of landfill waste that has contributed a lot to the pollution. Recycling prevents the delirious efforts of the toxic chemicals and harmful lleachants to affet the living beings. However, only a percent of recyclable products actually ends in recycling, rest all are dumped into landfill and left to be removed by natural process.

Some of these materials take hundreds of years to decompose or break down to simple molecules. With each load of waste the landfill pile is continuing to build up to accommodate more wastes as the rate of degradation of waste is very slow. The widely used printer has ink and toners if trashed will add to the landfill waste becoming a problem to the planet. 

The composition of printer cartridges also includes additives such as metals and foam that are hard to separate. Though most of the inks are non-toxic to humans, accidental intake of these tones needs to be taken care of. In case of spilling in your eyes wash it property to avoid any trouble. The ethylene glycol present in the ink is, however, harmful to pets such as dogs and cats even in fairly small amounts.

Toner cartridge is considered safe however if there is break in the cartridge, it may release toxins as some components of toner such as carbon black is known to cause cancer. Printer toner is also known to cause skin and eye irritation. Though the effect is mild, people with skin allergies may be affected severely. As per the mechanical safety data sheet, any spilling of toner on body parts should be taken care of properly. For any spilling in eyes, you should wash your eyes in an eyewash station or kit.


In this short report we have discussed the topic “ Recycling toner Office Depot” and known different types of printer and the speciales ink for each. We Have also discussed the different ways tones can be recycled by providing different services by the manufacturers and retailers for easy collection and disposal of toner cartridges. Finally we have explained the hazardous effects of tones which if disposed of in landfill cause severe effects to the health of living beings. 

Frequently asked question (FAQs): Recycling Toner Office Depot.

How do you dispose of toner cartridges?

Toner cartridges should never be disposed of in landfills,instead these can be sent for recycling. Companies and retail shops that make and sell the toner cartridges, have various recycling centers that accept empty toner cartridges. You can dispose of these cartridges at these centers or mail them from your home. Few companies have partnered with FedEX so that people can send their empty cartridges for recycling free of cost.

Can toners be recycled?

Yes, you can recycle toners which is the safest way for its disposal. Printer cartridges contain a mix of materials such as plastic metals, foam, ink, and toners which if dumped in garbage may end in landfill which will leach chemicals and toxins to the surroundings. You can give the toner for recycling in retailer stores near you such as Staples, Office depot, Walmart, and Best Buy where these will be disposed of safely.

Can you put printer toner in the bin?

No, printer toner should never be disposed of in the bin because these toners contain plastic materials and carbon powders that are known to emit toxic fumes which may cause adverse health effects and even cancer. When you dispose of the toners in the bin, these will end up in landfill where they are left to degrade by natural methods. Hence, for the benefit of our environment, toners should be sent for recycling. There are many retailer shops that accept toners or empty cartridges for recycling. This way these products are safely disposed of.

Is printer toner hazardous waste?

For non degradable materials this takes hundreds of years to decompose and the effect is slow release of toxic elements into the earth. Printer toners and cartridges contain plastic, foam, metal oxides and sometimes contain carbon powders. These materials are known to cause harmful effects to our health. Though in small amounts these do not cause delirious effects by regular exposure or in large quantities these are harmful to our body. Some components are also known to cause skin irritation and chronic itchiness.

How do I recycle my HP printer?

HP has contributed in a great way for recycling its products. Most of the HP products conserve resources by reusing and reselling some of its parts. The printers are set in such a way that these can be disassembled easily to separate metal parts for the ease of recycling.


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